Important Aboriginal + Oceanic Art
18 May 2011


(1921 - 2004)

synthetic polymer paint on linen

140.0 x 200.5 cm

signed and dated verso: MAGGIE WATSON NAPANGARDI / 1996

$130,000 - 150,000

Painted in 1996
Tineriba Gallery, Hahndorf (inscribed verso)
Private collection, Melbourne
Vivien Anderson Gallery, Melbourne
Private collection, Melbourne


Porta Oberta al Dreamtime: Art Aborigen Contemporani d'Austràlia, 1971-2003, Fundació Caixa de Girona, Girona, Spain, 24 September - 14 November 2004, Fundació Caixa de Terrassa, Barcelona, Spain, 20 November 2004 - 9 January 2005


Planella, G. (ed.), Porta Oberta al Dreamtime: Art Aborigen Contemporani d'Austràlia , 1971-2003, Fundació Caixa de Girona, 2004, p. 27 and cover (illus.)

This painting is one of two paintings painted for Tineriba Gallery in Hahndorf S.A. in late 1995 and early 1996, the first of these works was sold at Sotheby's Aboriginal art auction, 9 July 2001, lot 147

Catalogue text

Mushroom Dreaming, 1995, is a summation of the key preoccupations of Maggie Watson Napangardi’s practice. As senior custodian of the sacred salt lake, Mina Mina, located to the west of her home at Yuendumu, Napangardi paints the lush, fertile zones of the water soakages of the Mina Mina . Like all Napangardi and Napanangka women, the artist is a custodian of the bush mushroom dreaming. In this work Warlipiri women collect Jintiparnta, or bush mushrooms, at Karnakarlangu. On the clay pan the ancestral women danced and performed ceremonies causing digging sticks to rise up out of the ground, which the women then carried with them on their long journeys east. In this particular example the concentric circles represent the mushrooms collected by the women and the straight lines are the Kurkangu, or digging sticks they carried.

Women have played a fundamental role in the evolution of the new art at Yuendumu and Maggie Watson, with her sister Judy, have been an inspirational force within the community. The anthropologist Francoise Dussart encouraged the women of Yuendumu to expand their painting repertoire into canvas works and in 1984 the first group of paintings were exhibited at the Araluen Arts Centre in Alice Springs. Mushroom Dreaming is a significant example by Maggie Watson in terms of scale and story and it was painted in a golden period for the artist. She painted the monumental Wititji (Hairstring story) in 1997 and this work was later acquired by the National Gallery of Victoria.