Dorothy Napangardi is a leader of the contemporary Aboriginal art movement. She hails from the traditional country of Mina Mina in the Northern Territory’s Tanami Desert, but spent most of her adult life in Alice Springs.
Napangardi started painting vibrant images of bush foods. This however, eventually gave way to topographies of intricately dotted and patterned works rendered in a muted palette. Curator and writer Djon Mundine has suggested that this shift was born from the artist’s experience seeing Sydney at night from a plane, as well as returning to Mina Mina in 1999.
While there is a tendency to understand Aboriginal art as abstract, it is actually representational. In the case of Napangardi, her intricate dance of dots trace the movements of her women ancestors as they traverse the Mina Mina landscape. She references songlines and dance circles, expanding and paying homage to visual representations of Kurawarri (Dreaming).
Napangardi is represented in all public collections and internationally at the MET in New York. She was the second Aboriginal artist to be given a solo survey exhibition at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary art.