Parwalla

Elizabeth Nyumi Nungurrayi, Manyjilyjarra / Kukatja / Australian, born about 1947
Kukatja
Wirrimanu (Balgo)
Western Australia
Australia

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2000

Acrylic on canvas

Overall: 59 1/16 × 39 3/8 in. (150 × 100 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Gift of Will Owen and Harvey Wagner

© 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VISCOPY, Australia

2009.92.81

Geography

Place Made: Australia, Oceania

Period

21st century

Object Name

Painting

Research Area

Painting

On view

Label

Elizabeth Nyumi and Patrick Tjungurrayi spent their early lives traveling throughout the Western Desert with their family. After encountering Europeans for the first time in 1957, they moved to the mission at Balgo. Both Nyumi and Patrick began painting at Balgo in the mid-1980s, quickly becoming leading artists at the Warlayirti Art Centre. Patrick, however, was highly peripatetic, traversing the desert to attend to ceremonial business. Splitting his time between Balgo and Kiwrrikurra meant that Patrick also painted for the Papunya Tula Artists company. Warlayirti and Papunya Tula are two of the most important desert painting centers, and both developed their own unique aesthetics. Where painting at Balgo tended to be bright, fluid, and gestural, at Kiwirrkura paintings tended to be more somber, geometric, and restrained. Patrick’s work perfectly balances these competing tendencies, combining the color and rhythm of Balgo with the gridded gravitas of paintings from Kiwirrkurra. Although Patrick brings a looseness to these gridded forms, they maintain a clear connection to men’s ceremonial designs. In contrast, the organic forms of Nyumi’s Parwalla are exemplary of women’s painting at Balgo. Like Lucy Yukenbarri, she builds up her surface using tightly overlapping dots, while the organic arrangements that emerge from the field are intended to evoke the abundance of bush foods in the area.

From the 2019 exhibition A World of Relations, guest curated by Henry Skerritt, Mellon Curator of Indigenous Arts of Australia at the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia

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The artist has painted an abstract rendering of her father’s country, Parwalla, highlighting its natural features, living and non-living, plant and human. The white areas are sand dunes colored by the white seeds of spinifex grass that mask the red desert sand. A pink circle near the upper center is Parwalla itself the tjumu (water source) and there are campsites with women (shown as u-shapes) seated in circles with coolamons (oval carrying vessels) and digging sticks nearby. The land surrounding them is rich in the bush tucker (traditional food sources) they have collected. The artist is an expert in plant life, both as food and medicine, and this is a major theme in her abundant, energetic paintings.

From the 2023 exhibition Layered Histories: Indigenous Australian Art from the Kimberley and Central Desert, curated by Amelia Kahl, Barbara C. & Harvey P. Hood 1918 Curator of Academic Programming

Course History

WRIT 5, Indigenous Knowledge and Development, Kenneth Bauer, Winter 2013

ARTH 16, ANTH 50, Australian Aborigional Art, Howard Morphy, Fall 2012

ARTH 16, ANTH 50, Australian Aborigional Art, Howard Morphy, Fall 2012

ARTH 16, ANTH 50, Australian Aborigional Art, Howard Morphy, Fall 2012

ARTH 16, ANTH 50, Australian Aborigional Art, Howard Morphy, Fall 2012

WRIT 5, Nature and Imagination: The Meanings of Place, William Nichols, Fall 2012

SART 29, Photography I, Brian Miller, Fall 2012

SART 30, Photography II, Brian Miller, Fall 2012

SART 25, Painting I, Esme Thompson, Fall 2012

SART 25, Painting I, Enrico Riley, Fall 2012

ANTH 30, Hunters and Gatherers, Nathaniel Dominy, Fall 2012

THEA 28, Dance Composition, Ford Evans, Fall 2012

SART 15, Drawing I, Gerald Auten, Fall 2012

SART 20, SART 71, Drawing II, Drawing III, Colleen Randall, Fall 2012

NAS 42, Gender Issues in Native American Life, Vera Palmer, Fall 2012

ANTH 15, Political Anthropology, Elena Turevon, Fall 2019

Exhibition History

A World of Relations, Evelyn A. Jaffe Hall Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 26-December 8, 2019.

Crossing Cultures: The Owen and Wagner Collection of Contemporary Aboriginal Australian Art at the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, September 15, 2012-March 10, 2013; Toledo Museum of Art, April 11-July 14, 2013.

Layered Histories: Indigenous Australian Art from the Kimberely and Central Desert, Amelia Kahl, Curator, 5 August 2023 - 2 March 2024, Citrin Family Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire.

Publication History

Stephen Gilchrist, editor, Crossing Cultures, The Owen and Wagner Collection of Contemporary Aboriginal Art at the Hood Museum of Art, Hanover: Trustees of Dartmouth College, 2012, p. 116, Fig 10.6; p. 51, no. Fig. 4.2; p. 147, no. 78.

Provenance

Warlayirti Artists, Balgo Hills, Western Australia, Australia (Certificate of Authenticity); sold to Will Owen (1952-2015) and Harvey Wagner (1931-2017), Chapel Hill, North Carolina, date unknown; given to present collection, 2009.

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