Thinking Big: Spatial Conception in the Art of Dorothy Napangardi

The Warlpiri artist Dorothy Napangardi was born in the late 1940s or early 1950s in the bush near Mina Mina, northwest of Alice Springs at a time when colonisation meant that whites were increasingly encroaching on Walpiri land. Although Napangardi did not begin painting until much later, her childhood spent in the bush gathering the plentiful bush tucker and watching family members catch animals for food has had a critical influence on her artistic work. Because Napangardi did not live in a house in her formative years, the ability to view the landscape in its full 360 degrees enabled a different kind of eye which plays out extensively in her visual scapes. It is in this sense that Nicholls looks at the spatial conceptions of the work of Napangardi.

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