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Elizabeth Nyumi Nungurrayi

Parwalla - 2007

synthetic polymer paint on Belgian linen
81 x 80 cm
Price Realised: $7,320.00

MP #652


Warlayirti Artists, WA Cat No. 373/07
Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, NSW
Private Collection, NSW

Elizabeth Nyumi’s early years were spent some three hundred kilometres south of Balgo, near Jupiter Well, where she lived a nomadic life until she walked up the Canning Stock Route and into the old Balgo Mission in her late teens. She began painting in acrylics for the Warlayirti Art Centre in 1988.

This painting depicts the country known as Parwalla, which is Nyumi's father's country far to the south of Balgo in the Great Sandy Desert, west of Kiwirrkurra. Parwalla is a large swampy area that fills with water after the wet season rain and consequently produces an abundance of bush foods. The majority of Nyumi's paintings show the different bush foods, including kantjilyi (bush raisin), pura (bush tomato), and minyili (seed). The whitish colours represent the spinifex that grows strong and seeds after the wet season rains. These seeds are white in colour and grow so thickly they obscure the ground and other plants below.

In this work, Nyumi's melting textures create an exquisite play with light. A blanket of cream dots rest almost weightlessly over subtly submerged layers. Through this ‘powdered blanket’ emerge various organic and iconographic forms in an almost haphazard, yet aesthetically harmonious, arrangement.

Elizabeth Nyumi is the foremost of the second-generation Balgo artists, on whose success the Warlayirti art centre at Balgo Hills has depended. More than any other artist, she has extended the reputation of the Balgo women artists with her refreshingly distinct and individual depictions of country.