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Martha McDonald Napaltjarri

(1940-)

Alias: Martha McDonald Napaltjarri

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Biography

Martha McDonald Napaltjarri, daughter of founding Papunya Tula Artist Shorty Lungkata Tjungurrayi, paints for Papunya Tjupi Art Centre in Papunya.

Born at Haasts Bluff c.1940, Martha McDonald Napaltjarri (also known by her 'bush name’ of Tjulata) is the only child of founding Papunya Tula artist Shorty Lungkata Tjungurrayi and his first wife. Shorty also married Martha’s mother’s sister Napulu Nangala after the death of her first husband and raised her six children (Linda, Wintjiya, Pamela, Brenda, Donald and Paul) as his own. Martha never attended school, except as a 'house girl’ or cleaner for the upstairs part of the school. She also worked with linguist John Heffernan in the Papunya Literature production and Adult Education program and in the Papunya pre-school alongside her sister Linda Tjunkaya Syddick Napaltjarri. She married Snowy McDonald, who still lives in Papunya, and together they had two sons and a daughter, Deborah, who now lives in Adelaide. Martha resides in the tranquil surroundings of Blackwater outstation, a few kilometers outside Papunya, with Deborah’s son John Scott Rowe and his wife Margaret Lane and their two sons and one daughter, along with John’s sister Janet and her husband Daniel Long and their three children.

Martha has been painting for a long time, but said that she had not learnt from watching her father since “in those days only men, no kungka [women]” painted (pers. comm. 2009) She began painting in 2008 for Papunya Tjupi and rapidly emerged as a talented painter. Martha also enjoys making baskets and necklaces for Papunya Tjupi. She is an important elder in the Papunya

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Aboriginal Art (991)