Important Aboriginal Works of Art
25 May 2016


born c.1952

synthetic polymer paint on canvas

149.0 x 199.0 cm

bears inscription verso: artist's name, date, community, and Tjungu Palya Artists cat. TPMB06100

$25,000 – 35,000
Sold for $26,840 (inc. BP) in Auction 43 - 25 May 2016, Melbourne

Tjungu Palya Artists, Nyapari, South Australia
Marshall Arts, Adelaide
Private collection, Adelaide


Culture Warriors: Australian Indigenous Art Triennial, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 13 October 2007 – 10 February 2008


Croft, B., Culture Warriors: Australian Indigenous Art Triennial, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2007, p. 57 (illus.)

Catalogue text

This work is accompanied by a certificate from Tjungu Palya Artists which states: ‘this is three places. The first country is Nymun, that’s a sacred men’s place and we can’t talk about that because it’s dangerous for us. Karu kulupa, munu kapi piti tjuta (there are small creeks and many rockholes). The place in the middle is Palka-Palka. This is on the road from Irrunytju to Tjuntjuntjarra. The other country is Kungkarrakalpaku ngura (seven sisters’ home). This is my families place Kuru Ala. This is a sacred women’s place. Wati Nyirru wantinyi (they didn’t want that man Nyirru).’

Influenced by custodian tales and the seasons, Maringka Baker is celebrated for her meticulous aerial landscapes that juxtapose symmetry against asymmetry. There is a feeling of familiarity that can only stem from someone who knows these lands intimately, as displayed in Baker’s vivid depiction of Ngura Mankurpa, 2006 which narrates three ancestral stories and locates the painting in her homelands. Like many of her compositions, this illustration is inspired by the seasons and the landscape that is rejuvenated after the rainfalls. Washing away the dust, green grass replaces the dry soil and the rockholes that are positioned over the canvas in a geometric fashion, brim with water. Renowned for her dexterity with colours, Baker explores the palette of her land. While some envisage a desolate and dusty desert, Baker delights in illustrating rather, a lush environment that changes with the seasons – the incomparable landscape of the Australian desert and the transformation created by rain.

A senior Pitjantjatjara artist, Baker was born at the important ceremonial site Kaliumpil in Western Australia, and now resides in Kanpi, a small community situated in the northwest corner of South Australia. She is the custodian of several important Dreamings, demonstrating her knowledge through the application of rich colour and detailed brushwork. As one of Tjungu Palya’s most prolific and sought-after artists, Baker’s work featured in the inaugural Australian Indigenous Art Triennial: Culture Warriors in 2007, held at the National Gallery of Australia, and has been exhibited internationally to much acclaim. The mosaic-like dots and parallel lines have become typical motifs within Baker’s repertoire, with each work a journey into the land that she so evidently respects and reveres.