Life: c 1946 - 2014 Born: Tjitururrnga (West of Kintore), NT
Language/Country: Pintupi/Kintore NT
Walangkura Napanangka was born circa 1946 at Tjitururrnga, west of Walungurru (Kintore) in the western desert. At the age of around 10, she walked with her family out of the very remote area of the desert in which she was born, to the Ikuntji settlement of Haasts Bluff.
When the community of Kintore was established in 1981 and the outstation movement was underway, Walangkura participated in the historic women’s collaborative painting project of 1994. The project had been initiated by the older women artists to re-affirm their spiritual connections and ancestral knowledge and to slowly share this with the younger women. The series of major paintings were completed in 1994 and were exhibited at the Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute in Adelaide. It marked the beginning of the Pintupi women’s participation in the Western Desert art movement as independent artists. Up until then, women had largely worked as collaborators on paintings by their husbands and other close male relatives.
Papunya Tula artist cooperative had established a painting workshop at Kintore and after the passing of many of the male artists, the women were invited to paint for them, including Walangkura. This helped to maintain the profile of the earliest of women artists and cement their place in the history and growth of the Aboriginal art movement.
Walangkura’s work is strong and powerful, much as the desert in which she was born, lived and worked for her entire life. Her use of strong lines and circular motifs against usually black and dark backgrounds bore commonalities with the boldests works of the male artists of the time.
She lived at Kiwirrkurra with her husband and fellow artist, Hohnny Yungut Tjupurrula, until her death in 2014.