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Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri

Mouse Dreaming - 1996

synthetic polymer paint on Belgian linen
92.0 x 155.0 cm
Price Realised: $15,860.00

MP #350


Warumpi Arts (Papunya Community Art and Crafts, NT) Cat No. MN496085
Kimberley Art, Vic
Private collection, Tas


Bears artist's name and inscription verso

Artwork 92 x 155 cm : Frame 94.5 x 157.5 cm

During a career that spanned almost three decades Mick Namarari became a towering presence, whose variety of subjects and diversity of stylistic approaches kept him at the forefront of Western Desert painting. Driven to paint, regardless of the materials at hand, his early works were closely tied to narrative. Symbolic designs were painted, often on a rich, earthy background with a sharpness of line that imbued them with a remarkable clarity.


In Namarari’s non-figurative and non-iconographic paintings created during his later years, the broader spiritual relationship between the human and non-human world manifested itself in his representation of space. These are exemplified by this Mouse Dreaming work. The hypnotic minimalist field of dots suggest the microscopic life of the desert and the intimate placement of the artist within his subject, not apart from it.

Mick Namarari was credited as having played the decisive role in propelling Papunya Tula art away from the edifice of Tingari cartography and towards the ethereal minimalism typical of 1990s Pintupi men's art.

This painting depicts Tjunpinpa (Mouse) Dreaming at a hill site north-west of the Kintore Community. The overall dotting represents the footprints of each mouse and also kampurarrpa an edible berry which it eats. Men of the Tjapaltjarri kinship subsection are custodians for the ceremonies associated with this mythology.

Mick Namarari was the first recipient of Aboriginal Australia’s highest cultural accolade, the Australia Council’s Red Ochre Award, presented to him in 1994 four years prior to his death.