Kumanjayi Nangala was born at Haasts Bluff/Ikuntji circa 1933 of Ngaliya/Warlpiri parents and unexpectedly passed away in January 2020 after a long rich life. Nangala was a director of Papunya Tjupi right up until her passing and she governed the art centre with incredible leadership, ambition and care. Nangala was a highly respected senior law woman.
Her deeply felt knowledge of country and ceremony empowers her bold lyrical and expressive paintings depicting the topography of hills and creeks that create the feeling of flowing water. The great Water Dreaming site of Mikantji she inherited from her father was nearly always her subject. She said that her Auntie taught her culture and stories but she developed her own ideas on how to paint it. She paints “so the children can watch me paint and learn, so I can pass on my Dreaming and stories to my grandchildren. Papunya is my mother’s brother’s country.”
In the past, Nangala was a prodigious carver of coolamons and clap sticks and maker of ininiti seed necklaces, but since 2007 she mainly painted – and she also produced prints with Cicada Press College of Fine Arts UNSW.
Finalist in the Vincent Lingiari Art Award (2016) and Wyndham Art Prize (2019) her works are held in the Artbank Collection and Central Land Council Collection.