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Eilleen Napaljarri

(1956-)

Alias: Eileen Napaltjarri

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Biography

Eileen Napaltjarri is a significant second generation Aboriginal artist of the Western Desert movement. Eileen was born in the Haasts Bluff community in December 1956 to the late Charlie Tararu Tjungurrayi, one of the founding members of Papunya Tula Artists, who forged a longstanding and innovative artistic career. Her mother, Tatali Nangala, was another accomplished and prolific painter. Eileen is the wife of leading Kintore artist, Kenny Williams Tjampitjinpa.

Eileen Napaltjarri moved from Haasts Bluff to Kintore with her family after the outstation was first established there in the early 1980s. She often sat beside her parents as they painted. In 1999, after the death of her mother, Eileen began to paint her own stories. Her “rhythmically abstract paintings”, wrote journalist Nicolas Rothwell reviewing a Papunya Tula women’s show in Alice Springs in late 2006, “have become the newest sign of the inventiveness of Kintore women.”

The main site that Eileen refers to in her painting is her father’s birthplace, Tjitjurrulnga (also known as Titjurrulpa), a rockhole to the west of Kintore. She depicts this with parallel and arching lines of sandhill country, which meet and diverge down the canvas, occasionally disrupted with openings and waterholes. Her distinct palette of rich and vibrant colours reverberates with tonal intensity.

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Aboriginal Art (991)