Ngapa (Water) Dreaming, 1995, Polly Watson Napangardi (b. 1930)
Ngapa (Water) Dreaming
Region: Yuendumu, Central Desert, Australia
Language Group: Warlpiri
This beautiful painting depicts the site of Puyurru, to the west of Yuendumu in central Australia. Puyurru is usually dry creek beds which are water soakages or natural occurring wells. The Dreaming talks of two Jangala men who were rain-makers, who sang to attract the rain and, in so doing, unleashed a giant storm. The storm travelled across the country and bolts of lightning shot out that built hills at Ngamangama using baby clouds and also stuck long pointy clouds into the ground where they can still be seen today as rock formations. The storm met another storm from Wapurtali, to the west, where it was picked up by a "Kirrkarlanji" (Brown Falcon) and carried further west until it dropped the storm at Purlungyanu. It was here that a great soakage was created. At Puyurru a bird dug up a giant snake "Warnayarra" (The Rainbown Serpent) and the snake carried water to create an enormous lake, Jillyiumpa.
Biography: Polly Napangardi Watson (also known as Polly Napangati) is a Warlpiri artist who worked in an inventive and dynamic style unlike that of any other artist from the Yuendumu region. She emerged as a significant painter very early in her painting career, which began in 1987. She has been represented in major international exhibitions since 1990 and her works have been acquired by public and private collections both in Australia and internationally.
Polly’s backgrounds of ochre tones and squiggly lines of the kurruwarri (the iconography of her dreaming) are in keeping with the traditional Warlpiri style of painting. But what sets her apart as a contemporary artist is her intricate layering of dots, which create shimmering surfaces reminiscent of pointalist painters. Her delicate works contain a minimalist iconography representing an aerial view of the land.
Medium: Acrylic on Belgian linen
Dimensions: 48 x 33 in. (121.9 x 83.8 cm.)
Condition: Unstretched, in excellent condition.
Provenance: Collection of Richard Kelton and Kerry Smallwood Kelton, Santa Monica,California, acquired from Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs in 1997.
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