aboriginal artist: Margaret Lewis Napangardi

Margaret Lewis Napangardi has had a close association with the great contemporary artists of Yuendumu and Nyirripi. Besides her sister, the late Dorothy Napangardi Robertson, she has also been close with Judy Napangardi Watson. The women artists share the great Warlpiri Jukurrpa of the Women’s Ceremony at Mina Mina, which has been a central theme in the contemporary work of all three artists.

While Dorothy Napangardi Robertson refined the imagery around Mina Mina and expressed it in black and white tones, Judy Napangardi Watson used a high keyed range of colours and the imagery was energetic and expansive. Margaret Lewis Napangardi has acquired aspects of both these contrasting styles. Her most recent paintings have been restrained in colour although they still contain some high contrasts of red and black. Across these styles Margaret Lewis Napangardi still draws on elements of the refined dot work of her sister and the thick bands of single colours used by Judy Napangardi Watson.

The Warlpiri artists have been working out these competing forces in their painting for decades, bouncing between the traditional expectations of Jukurrpa and the desire to unleash the colour, energy and celebration inherent in their feelings for their subject. Margaret Lewis Napangardi is a Warlpiri artist to watch as she moves to the next stage of her artistic development and her contribution to Aboriginal art.