Alma Nungarrayi Granites
Artist has Passed Away
30th May 1955- 31t August 2017
Out of respect for Aboriginal culture Central Art has removed the artist's photograph.
In 2009 I (Sabine Haider, Director Central Art) had the pleasure of meeting Alma Granites Nungarrayi. Alma came into Alice Springs to visit with her town based family. Alma is a very knowledgeable woman who takes great pride in her cultural heritage devoting her time to learning all of the Dreaming stories associated with her parent’s country. Her story demonstrates a resilience and strength found in Aboriginal culture and the importance of Dreaming stories and traditional lore which still play a significant role for Aboriginal people today.
Born on the 30th of May 1955 Alma is the daughter of important Warlpiri artists Paddy Japaljarri Sims and Bessie Nakamarra Sims, Alma was born and continues to live in Yuendumu Community, approximately 270km from Alice Springs. Alma’s parents founded the “Warlukurlangu Artists”, a community artists group in the mid 1980’s. This is a locally owned and operated art centre in Yuendumu Community.
Alma’s Dreaming was handed down to her by her father and is the story of the “Seven Sisters” and “Milky Way”. Paddy Japaljarri is the last Japaljarri who has all the knowledge of the traditional songs and ceremonies associated with this Dreaming. The story talks of the constellation Taurus or known to us now as The Pleiades. In Aboriginal Dreamtime this represents the seven sisters of the Napaljarri skin group. Jukurra, the morning star represents a Jakamarra man who is deeply in love with the seven Napaljarri sisters. The sisters did not want Jakamarra so to escape him they ascended into the sky to become the stars. He can be seen chasing them across the night sky. This is the Dreamtime story that Alma connects most with and is the main focus of her artworks.
Alma spent her youth living in Yuendumu and worked at the local school, she attended courses to become a teacher’s aide, working in the English and Warlpiri classrooms. Alma commenced painting in 1987 as a hobby but in 2007 she began to devote her time on a full time basis to her artworks. It was at this time that she began to ask more questions about her Dreaming and wanted to learn as much as she could about her culture and the stories that are a framework for Aboriginal culture. She is extremely dedicated to this as it is a way for her to connect with her culture and share the important knowledge that has been passed down to her.
Alma uses innovative painting techniques to depict her Dreaming story, often they clearly represent the night sky and through this she has been able to depict traditional iconography that is aesthetic pleasing to the eye and appeals to many people. Alma is highly regarded as an artist and her works are well represented in a number of Australian and international galleries who specialise in Aboriginal art.
In 2009 Alma’s participated in a group exhibition titled “Mother, Daughter, Granddaughter: Three generations of Yuendumu Artists”, displaying the works of Bessie Nakamarra Sims, Alma and her daughter Sabrina. It is encouraging to see that the stories and teachings continue to be passed down through the generations and Alma has identified this as a key responsibility of hers.
Alma’s artworks appeal to a wide range of people from the avid collector to the everyday customer. I look forward to the possibility of further works by Alma however understand that she is an incredibly busy woman.
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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