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Mina Mina by Dorothy Napangardi Robinson

Dorothy Napangardi was the master of movement. Her dotted representations of the landscape around her country have made her one of the most well-known Australian Aboriginal artists. Dorothy had great success both in Australia and overseas, and some of her many achievements include winning the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award in 2001, a retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in 2003 and the Sydney Biennale in 2012.

'Salt at Mina Mina'.120 cm x 200 cm. Acrylic on linen canvas
'Salt at Mina Mina'.120 cm x 200 cm. Acrylic on linen canvas

​She was born in the early 1950s and her country is Mina Mina, a sacred site about 400km North West of Alice Springs. Mina Mina is the site of an important rock hole and there are many Dreaming stories associated with this country. Dorothy was one of around 3,000 Warlpiri speakers who lived in or are originally from the Tanami Desert region of Central Australia.

From 1997, Dorothy began producing works depicting the grid-like patterns of the salt encrustations on the Mina Mina clay pans. This was a new direction for her work and over a three-year period, her paintings became increasingly minimal, pared back to dot, line and form.

In these new works, Dorothy began to explore Karntakurlangu (Women’s Digging Sticks Dreaming), one of the most significant women's Dreaming, as well as other stories related to the travels of her ancestors. In these Dreamings, the ancestral women danced in their hundreds across the country during the region's creation.

'Mina Mina'. 93 cm x 111 cm. Numbered and signed print on fine art paper.
'Mina Mina'. 93 cm x 111 cm. Numbered and signed print on fine art paper.

The lines of white dots trace the travels of her female ancestors as they danced through the saltpans, spinifex and sandhills, clutching their digging sticks in their outstretched hands. Artist Kathleen Petyarre was quoted as saying 'those Walpiri ladies, they’re mad about dancing, they go round and round and round dancing, they’re always dancing'. This is reflected in the dense rhythms of grids on Dorothy's canvases, as she mapped the paths of the dancing women.

​Dorothy has had numerous solo and group exhibitions both in Australia and overseas. Her art is in the collections of several museums, including the National Gallery of Australia, the Linden-Museum in Stuttgart Germany, The Kelton Foundation in Santa Monica USA, The Vroom Collection in the Netherlands and The The LeWitt Collection in Connecticut, USA.

'Mina Mina' by Judy Watson Napangardi and 'Salt at Mina Mina' by Dorothy Napangardi Robinson are on display at our exhibition 'Dreamtime: Australian Aboriginal Art' at the Riverhouse Arts Centre, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, 5th February – 1st March 2020. Please click here for further details.

For further details and enquiries, please contact Nadia Phillips


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