KINYU, 2000

Important Aboriginal + Oceanic Art
24 March 2010

Eubena Nampitjin

born 1921
KINYU, 2000

synthetic polymer paint on canvas

119.5 x 179.5 cm

inscribed verso: artist's name, size and Warlayirti Artists cat. 846/00

$30,000 - 40,000
Sold for $30,000 (inc. BP) in Auction 13 - 24 March 2010, Melbourne

Warlayirti Artists, Balgo Hills
Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne
Private collection, Melbourne


Eubena Nampitjin; Art and Life, Williamson, S., and Togni, S., (eds), Warlayirti Artists, Balgo Hills,2005, p. 37 (illus.)

This painting is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from Warlayirti Artists, Balgo Hills

Catalogue text

Born at Tjintalpa in the 1920s, Eubena Nampitjin was raised walking the Canning Stock Route from Kunawarritji (Well 33) to Waladayilyu with her family collecting bush tucker along the tali (sandhills). Like many artists of her generation, Nampitjin worked on cattle stations as a stockhand, droving bullocks and engaging in yard work.

In 1964, Nampitjin moved, settling at Wirrimanu, the present site of the Balgo Hills community. When her husband Purungu Tjakata Tjapaltjarri passed away she married Wimmitji Tjapangati. While Tjapangati painted at the Adult Education Centre, Nampitjin taught the young girls how to dance and paint for ceremonies. After encouragement from the Warlpiri women, Nampitjin began to paint alongside her husband. By the mid1980s, she had produced several works that were included in the 1986 exhibition Art of the Great Sandy Desert which was held at the Art Gallery of Western Australia. Further impetus to paint came in 1989, when the new arts organisation, Warlayirti Artists, was formed which provided her with the infrastructure and support to pursue her love of painting, and enabling her to focus on major Dreaming Stories.

Nampitjin’s deep knowledge of country, the contours of the terrain, the sacred places and the ancestral beliefs (including body designs for yawulyu ceremonies) is revealed in her fluent application of luminous colour. ‘I like painting from my heart. My uncle gave me maparn (traditional healing powers) and I have strong spirit. I like to do paintings, big ones, to keep my spirit strong.'1 Today, Nampitjin is a senior law woman and one of the most respected figures in the Balgo community.

This painting, Kinyu, 2000 depicts Nampitjin’s traditional country found along the middle stretches of the Canning Stock Route, around Well 35 in the Great Sandy Desert, south west of Balgo. The tali (sanddunes) dominate this landscape, the centre of the work depicts the Kinyu waniri (rockhole), a site that is important for the dog Tjukurrpa (Dreaming).

1. Williamson, S., and Togni, S., (eds), Eubena Nampitjin; Art and Life, Warlayirti Artists, Balgo Hills, 2005, p. 19