In this series, we introduce the nine artists behind Marking the Infinite: Contemporary Women Artists from Aboriginal Australia, on view at The Phillips Collection June 2–September 9, 2018.
Wintjiya Napaltjarri, Women’s Ceremonies at Watanuma, 2007, Synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 59 7/8 x 71 7/8 in. Collection of Debra and Dennis Scholl © Wintjiya Napaltjarri, licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency Ltd., courtesy Papunya Tula Artists. Photo: Sid Hoeltzell
Born c. 1930, Malparingya, Northern Territory
Died 2014, Walungurru (Pintupi) / Kintore (English), Northern Territory
Wintjiya Napaltjarri witnessed the birth of the contemproary Aboriginal art movement with the establishment of the Papunya Tula Artists company, the first Aboriginal-owned artist company, founded in 1972, and belongs to one of the first generations of women to paint for the company. Born in the Western Desert, she lived nomadically with her family until the 1950s, when she joined the migration of Western Desert peoples to the Lutheran mission at Haasts Bluff. In 1994, she participated in the Kintore/ Haasts Bluff Women’s Painting Project with a group of 14 other women, ushering in a new era of creative output and the establishment of the Ikuntji Women’s Center at Haasts Bluff. Her work is held in Australian collections, including the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; and the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.