Martha McDonald Napaltjarri is an important Luritja Elder in the Papunya community. Born in 1941, Martha experienced a lot of living before she emerged as a vibrant and meticulous painter in 2008. Within this beautiful Elder is a funky fledgling artist full of colour and soul. Her enthusiasm and aliveness is quite tangible, and it is apparent in the vibrancy of what she shares through her art works.
Tjingurru is Martha’s first solo show, opening at Raft Artspace (www.raftartspace.com.au) 6pm Friday 17 April. In Luritja, Tjingurru means ‘might be’ which is also Martha's most common response to anything asked of her. This is reflective of Martha’s easy-going disposition and her ability to flow with life however it unfolds. The show will remain open until Saturday 9 May.
Martha resides in the tranquil surroundings of Blackwater, an outstation a few kilometres south of Papunya, with two of her grandchildren and their families. Trees green with flowing limbs and subtle breezes embrace Blackwater as it looks to the magnificence of the ancient Ulumpbaru ranges. Martha travels Troopie style to Tjupi Arts each day and her dedication shows in the rapid expansion of her work.
In addition to painting stories of her home at Blackwater; Martha loves to paint her fathers country Warlukuritji, West of Kintore. Martha remembers travelling to Warlukuritji when she was a young girl with her father, Shorty Lungatha Tjungurrayi, one of the Western Deserts early Papunya painters and loves to recall that country in her painting. Martha has a deep affinity for her fathers painting and explores elements of his work that are culturally acceptable and gender appropriate and reinvents these elements with her own unique mark.
At age 74, Martha McDonald Napaltjarri is in her prime.