Life: c. 1943 - 2021
Language/Country: Pintupi/Mt Leibig/ Born: Malparinga, Kintore.
Wentja Morgan Napaltjarri was a Pintupi woman and the daughter of Shorty Lungkata Tjungurrayi, one of the original founders of the Western Desert art movement and one of his wives, Napula Nangala. She was born at Malparinga circa 1943, and grew up west of Kintore in her father's country, located in the Gibson Desert.
While at Haasts Bluff, Wentja met her husband, Ginger Tjakamarra, who was the son of the artist Makinti Napanangka. The couple eventually moved to Papunya, where Wentja started painting as her father's apprentice.
When Wentja Napaltjarri was young, her father and uncle, along with their families including Wentja travelled east from water source to water source. Wentja and her family journeyed out of the desert to join other relatives in settlements at Haasts Bluff in 1948. While at Haasts Bluff, Wentja met her husband, Ginger Tjakamarra, who was the son of the artist Makinti Napanangka. The couple eventually moved to Papunya, where Wentja’s first paintings were collaborative, helping her father and male relatives with their works.
Eventually, Wentja lived at Watiyawanu [New Bore], Mt Liebig with her husband and with her children. Wentja began her own career there, painting for the community art centre, Watiyawanu Artists. Wentja mostly paints Tingarri and Kapi Tjukurrpa, the iconography for which has been handed down to her by her father. She became a respected elder of her community and a custodian of traditional law. Her culture remained central to who she was and how she lived and worked. Wentja has a strong and distinct style and her work is highly acclaimed and collected widely in Australia and internationally.
Wentja’s work has been exhibited in leading Australian and international exhibitions, including the 2003 exhibition Masterpieces from the Western Desert, in London.
- Art Bank Sydney,
- Homes a Court Collection,
- Art Gallery of South Australia,
- Art Gallery of Western Australia,
- Queensland Art Gallery,
- Kerry Stokes and Thomas Vroom Collections
- National Aboriginal Art and Culture Institute, Adelaide
- Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.