MITJILI NAPANANGA GIBSON (1930-2010)
Mitjili Napanangka Gibson was born around 1930 at Winnparrku, near Papunya in the Gibson Desert. Growing up on the flat plains of Western Australia/northern Territory border, Mitjili was a hunter gatherer in the outback until she was 25. Her incredible skills in this area meant she became sought after to catch animals for natural history documentaries and feature films, as well as assisting biologists, zoologists and botanists.
She was the niece of the artist Dorothy Napangardi, and it was Dorothy’s work that gave Mitjili the confidence to begin painting herself. In 2009, Mitjili played herself, as an ageing grandmother in the film by Warwick Thornton called Samson and Delilah. Her niece in the film, was played by her real life niece, Marissa.
Mitjili's paintings are built up with colourful, streaming dot work in many layers, making a wonderful tapestry of colour and texture. Her Dreaming stories (Tjukurpa) used the the land as her inspiration, and are abstract aerial views of the desert landscape. Mina Mina, a sacred site for aboriginal women with skin names of Napanangka and Napangardi, featured in many of her exuberant and colourful works.