Wintjiya Napaltjarri: life and works

Wintjiya Napaltjarri (born amongst ca. 1923 to 1934) (also spelt Wentjiya, Wintjia or Wentja), and next known as Wintjia Napaltjarri No. 1, is a Pintupi-speaking Indigenous artist from Australia’s Western Desert region. She is the sister of performer Tjunkiya Napaltjarri; both were wives of Toba Tjakamarra, with whom Wintjiya had five children.

Wintjiya’s involvement in contemporary Indigenous Australian art began in 1994 at Haasts Bluff, when she participated in a group painting project and in the introduction of batik fabrics. She has with been a printmaker, using drypoint etching. Her paintings typically use an iconography that represents the eggs of the flying ant (waturnuma) and hair-string skirts (nyimparra). Her palette generally involves mighty red or black next to a white background.

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A finalist in the 2007 and 2008 National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Awards, Wintjiya’s ham it up is held in several of Australia’s public collections including the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, the National Gallery of Australia and the National Gallery of Victoria. Her play a role is in addition to held in the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia.

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