Yinarupa Nangala was born around 1948 in the Western Desert of Australia and has come to be a leading figure in the Contemporary Indigenous Art scene. With a rich traditional background influenced heavily by the Papunya Tula art movement, her late father being the esteemed Anatjari Tjampitjinpa a founding member, Yinarupa Nangala has earned her status as a senior Western desert Painter.
Yinarupa Nangala’s contribution to Aboriginal art began in 1996 when she developed a distinctive style of weaving together her rich spiritual heritage as well as the physical environment of her homeland. Predominantly using black and white, Yinarupa specifically paints the ‘Ngamurru’ in Kiwirrkurra, WA, a meeting place for aboriginal women where ceremonial business is conducted. The area is also renowned for its abundance of the Acacia seed, which once collected is ground into flour and used to make ‘latja’, a damper bread used in aboriginal ceremonial rituals. The various shapes in her work depict important features of the landscape including rock holes – important water sources, women’s meeting places and rich food areas.
Yinarupa’s unique art uses a combination of traditional and contemporary symbols providing an aerial view of the Pintupi area. This mixture ensures her work resonates with a contemporary audience of the traditional aspects of her culture. Her detailed rhythmic contemporary aboriginal art saw her win the prestigious ‘General Art Prize’ in 2009 at the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards, cementing her status as an acclaimed and talented artist. Her emotional acceptance speech, in which she talked about her country and her depictions of it, was a moving experience for all who witnessed it.
She has been voted one of the top 50 Contemporary Indigenous Australian Artists.