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Judy Watson Napangardi

(c.1925 - 2016) 

Born on Mt. Doreen Station, north-west of Alice Springs circa 1925, Judy Watson Napangardi grew up in the vast Warlpiri country that lies between the Tanami and Gibson deserts. Her traditional nomadic life came to an end, however, when the Warlpiri were forced to live in the new government settlement at Yuendumu. 

Years later, following the birth of her ten children amid great struggles living under European colonisation, the influence of those early years in the land of her ancestors burst forth in her art. Her principal focus was the women’s Dreaming of the Karnta-kurlangu – a large number of ancestral women who danced across the land, creating important sites, discovering plants, foods, and medicines, as well as establishing the ceremonies that would perpetuate their generative powers. 

At Mina Mina, these ancestral women danced and performed ceremonies before traveling on to Janyinki and other sites as they moved east toward Alcoota. During their ritual dancing, digging sticks rose up out of the ground and the women carried these implements with them on their long journey east, singing and dancing all the way without rest. The hairstring is anointed with red ochre and is a secret and sacred connection between the women’s ceremony and the country, which enables them to connect with the spirit of the Dreaming.

Cooee Art Leven 17 Thurlow Street Redfern

Tuesday 5th March 2024

Below are some of Judy Watson Napangardi's artworks that appear in the Rod Menzies Estate Auction Part II