aboriginal artist: Naata Nungurrayi

View artworks by Naata Nungurrayi

Naata Nungurrayi was born c. 1932 in the area of Pollock Hills, Western Australia. She sadly passed away in September 2021.

Naata and her family walked into Papunya from Wala Wala in the Gibson Desert. This was prior to the location of the last group of desert dwellers making contact with the Native Welfare Patrols headed by Jeremy Long.

Naata commenced painting for Papunya Tula Artists in 1996. Naata is the sister of Nancy Nungurrayi and George Tjungarrayi and now lives at Kintore with her family. She is the mother of Kenny Williams Tjampitjinpa and Tituan Ross.

In 1999, Naata, her sister Nancy, and eight other women from Walungurru, collaborated on a large canvas, which was subsequently exhibited, at the Art Gallery of NSW in Sydney.

Naata’s ‘tjukurrpa’ or dreaming stories depict women’s ceremonies around the sacred waterhole known as “Marrapinta” west of the Kiwirrkurra community.

Naata depicts her homeland “ngura” as an aerial perspective and includes such features as the “tali” (sandhills), “puli” (rock outcrops) and “punti” (vegetation).

In 2003 Naata’s painting was used as a motif on an Australian stamp. She has become one of the most recognised of the senior women artists from the western desert region, and is highly sought after by collectors worldwide.

Naata is famous for her bold expressive line works and ‘piling on’ paint of dense and often vibrantly coloured profusion to create some of the most radiant and richly textured surfaces ever to be seen.


National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies,
Artbank, Sydney
Flinders Art Museum, Adelaide
Papunya Tula Artists, Alice Spring
Aboriginal Art Museum, The Netherlands
Genesis and Genius, Art Gallery of New South Wales

Exhibitions (selection)

1997 Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs, Northern Territory
1999 Flinders University of South Australia, Bedford Park, South Australia
1999 Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi ‘New Horizons 2000’ Melbourne, Victoria
2000 ‘Lines’, Brisbane, Queensland
2000 Papunya Tula ””Genesis and Genius””, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
2000 17th National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Darwin, NT
2000 Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne, Victoria
2000 “Pintupi Women”, Papunya Tula Artists, Alice Springs, NT
2001 Palm Beach Art Fair, Palm Beach, Florida, USA
2001 ”Papunya Tula 30th Anniversary Exhibition”’, Canberra, ACT
2001 ”Pintupi Art’, Papunya Tula Artists, Alice Springs, Northern Territory
2001 18th National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Darwin, Northern Territory
2001 ”Kintore and Kiwirrkura”, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
2001 ”Spirituality and Australian Aboriginal Art”, Comunidad de Madrid touring exhibition, Spain
2002 ‘Paintings from our Country’, Adelaide, South Australia
2002 ‘Pintupi Mens’ and Womens’ Stories’, Subiaco, Western Australia
2002 19th Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Darwin, NT 2002 ”Pintupi Artists”, Papunya Tula Artists, Alice Springs, Northern Territory
2003 ”Pintupi Art 2003”, Adelaide, South Australia
2003 20th National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award

2001, Finalist in 19th Telstra NATSIAA

Other Achievements:
Naata’s received wide recognition of her work within the industry with enteries accepted into the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Telstra Awards.
In 2003 Nungurrayi was chosen along with four other Papunya Tula Artists to have one of her works represented on an International Australia Post stamp.
Naata Nungurrayi was named among the Top 50 of Australia’s Most Collectable Artists in Australian Art Collector Issue 27, January – March 2004.