KINYU, 2007

Important Aboriginal + Oceanic Art
6 October 2010

Eubena Nampitjin

born 1921
KINYU, 2007

synthetic polymer paint on canvas

179.5 x 149.5 cm

inscribed verso: artist's name, size, Warlayirti Artists cat. 1073/07

Sold for $60,000 (inc. BP) in Auction 17 - 6 October 2010, Melbourne

Warlayirti Artists, Balgo Hills
Company collection, Adelaide

Catalogue text

Born at Tjintalpa in the 1920s, Eubena Nampitjin grew up walking the Canning Stock Route from Kunawarritji (Well 33) to Waladayilyu with her family collecting bush foods along the tali (sandhills). Like many artists of her generation, Nampitjin worked on Cattle Stations as a stock–hand, droving bullocks and being employed in yard work. In 1964 Nampitjin moved with her then husband Purungu Tjakata Tjapaltjarri from Old Balgo mission, settling at Wirrimanu, the present site of the Balgo Hills community. When Tjapaltjarri passed away she married senior painter Wimmitji Tjapangati. While Tjapangati painted at the Adult Education Centre, Nampitjin taught the young girls how to dance and paint for ceremonies.

By the mid 1980s Eubena Nampitjin had begun to produce her own paintings, all informed by a fluidity and grace of form. In 1986, a number were included in the widely publicized exhibition Art of the Great Sandy Desert at the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth. Following its success in 1987 Warlayirti Artists of Balgo Hills was formed. This provided Nampitjin with the infrastructure and support to pursue her love of painting in a more concentrated fashion, resulting in the production of major works such Kinyu, 2007.

Eubena Nampitjin's paintings express knowledge of country; the contours of the terrain, the sacred places and the ancestral beliefs. The certificate of authenticity from Warlayirti Artists which accompanies this works states: ‘Eubena has painted some of her country south west of Balgo along the middle stretches of the Canning Stock Route. The majority of the painting shows the tali (sandhills) that dominate this country. The central circles are tjurrnu (soak water) named Midjul. This is the country where Kinyu the spirit dog lives. Eubena would often cover Midjul with leaves so Kinyu wouldn't come out and would leave gifts for the goanna.'