Vivien Anderson, of Vivien Anderson Gallery in Melbourne, Australia and curator of Chiaroscuro’s 2012 summer exhibition “Australian Contemporary Indigenous Art II”, offers the following words with regards to the recent passing of Dorothy Napangardi, celebrated contemporary Australian Aboriginal artist.
“It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the recent death of Dorothy Napangardi in a tragic accident over the weekend.
“We were very privileged to exhibit Napangardi’s paintings since 1998, when she began to create her most remarkable work at Roslyn Premont’s Gallery Gondwana studios in Alice Springs. Roslyn and Napangardi had been friends for a decade at that time and their partnership saw Napangardi’s innovative repertoire refined through regular road expeditions back to her inspiration, her homeland Mina Mina.
“I vividly recall the public craving for her work, the pressure of exhibition openings to satisfy the desires of all collectors. As much as Emily Kngwarreye, but in a shorter time span, Napangardi unified Australian collectors through their belief in her work. In 2001 Napangardi’s splendid canvas Salt on Mina Mina won the 18th National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award, followed shortly thereafter by the highly acclaimed survey exhibition Dancing Up Country at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney in 2002. On entering the MCA installation one was mesmerised by her beautifully restrained, sophisticated and deeply personal renditions of her sacred Mina Mina country and its associated Karntakurlangu Tjukurpa (Women’s Dreaming).
“In 2012 we exhibited a selection of Napangardi’s paintings, more recently produced at the famous Gallery Gondwana studio again in the company of Roslyn Premont, at Australian Contemporary Indigenous Art II in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The response was curious amazement, instant respect and acknowledgement of her originality; there is no doubt she would have continued to surprise us further.
“She was one of Australia’s great international artists. Her legacy is left in the generation of younger indigenous artists she influenced, and not least in the paintings that are spread throughout the world and admired at every glancing moment.”