Makinti Napanangka

Makinti Napanangka is one of the leading women artists from the Western Desert working with Papunya Tula Artists.

Makinti Napanangka is a Pintupi speaker who was born sometime around 1930 in the Lake MacDonald region. She and her family walked in to Haasts Bluff before the Papunya Community was established.

She began painting in acrylic during the mid 1990s as a member of the Haasts Bluff-Kintore painting project conducted at Kintore by Marina Strocchi, the art coordinator at Haasts Bluff. She quickly developed her own distinctive style and has been painting regularly with the Papunya Tula Artists cooperative since 1996.

Her paintings typically consist of a complex pattern of pale lines over an orange or ochre-coloured background. This is then set off with mauve or bright yellow highlights.

Makinti's work incorporates designs associated with the travels of the Kungka Kutjarra (two women). The wandering lines that so often feature in her paintings depict the swirling hair string skirts worn by women during ceremonies associated with certain sites.

While the patterning refers to the skirts, the flowing rhythms of the lines hint at the songs and dances of the Pintupi women's ceremonies. While most of Makinti's imagery is related to the Kungka Kutjarra, it can also refer to the Kuningka - the western quoll - which is represented by circles.

Makinti has participated in numerous group exhibitions and has had three solo shows: at Utopia Art in Sydney in 2000 and 2001 and at Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne in 2002. Her work is represented in many major public and private collections in both Australia and overseas.

Utopia Art's director, Chris Hodges, says Makinti Napanangka is the central desert's "best painter since Emily [Kngwarreye]". Hodges believes the artist has no living match in her painterly freedom, and her fearless blend of naive and sophisticated elements.

She was rated in the March 2003 issue of "Australian Art Collector" magazine as one of the 50 most collectable artists in Australia.