Mick Namararri Tjapaltjarri
Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri was born c.1926 at Marnpi south-east of Kintore in the Western Desert, is one of the most important painters to emerge from the Western Desert since 1971.
From the Pintupi language group, Mick lived in the bush with his two sisters, grandmother, and parents. His father went out hunting one day and when he didn’t return, the family found him speared in the back by “a revenge party”. Out of grief, his grandmother built a fire and threw herself on it. Although Mick tried to pull her out, it was too late. It was the 1920s and Mick was 7 or 8 years old but we will never know for sure. He said, “We didn’t know about years then.”
Mick’s mother became the 4th wife of a man named Kamatu, one of the leading Pintupi men in the region, who adopted Mick and his sisters. Mick went through initiation and became an important member of his community. When Haasts Bluff became a cattle station, he went to work in the industry, working for a stockman.
In the early 1960s, he was removed to Papunya and became one of its original painters when Geoff Bardon arrived. He was the subject of Geoff Bardon's documentary film, Mick and the Moon. Family Moon Dreaming, a painting in the Kluge-Ruhe Collection, UVA, was created for Geoff Bardon’s documentary.
Paintings on art board are the artist’s earliest works. Compared to his later works, the early works are brighter colours with a larger variety of details. Orange was used by many of the artists because that is the colour of the countryside. When the sun sets and hits the sand, it is as orange as the paintings depict. More subdued colours began being used when an art marketer suggested the paintings would sell better that way.
From early figurative works, he moved on to creating large geometric designs that typified Papunya Tula art in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In the 1990s he began producing "minimalist" paintings that depicted the imprint of a kangaroo in the sand, the seeds that the marsupial mouse feeds upon, or the aftermath of hailstorms in the desert.
He died in Alice Springs in 1998, survived by his wife Elizabeth Nakamarra Marks and his daughter Angeline Nungurrayi.
Important copyright notice
The Copyright of all images and documentation remains with Sabine Haider. The Australian Copyright Act protects all artists from unauthorised copying by giving control over original works of art to the artist by law. However depending on the use proposed, Sabine Haider from Central Art – Aboriginal Art Store can facilitate reproduction of works with the permission of the artist as we have developed close relationships over the years with many individual painters and craftspeople.
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