Mitjili Napurrula was born at Haasts Bluff in 1945 and started painting for the Ikuntji Women's Centre in 1993. She is the daughter of Tjunkiya Napaltjarri, a painter at Kintore. Her brother Turkey Tolson Tjupurrula, is the Chairman of Papunya Tula Artists, and she is married to Long Tom Tjapanangka. She has exhibited throughout Australia since 1994 and has held several solo exhibitions. Her work is represented in major Australian collections including the National Gallery of Australia; Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Flinders University Art Museum, South Australia.
A predominant theme in Mitjili's work, is Watiya Tjuta (trees) which relates to men's wooden objects. The 'Tjukurrpa' or Dreaming of these works concerns making spears, an important aspect of men's business; and the straightening of spears is a theme frequently painted by her brother Turkey Tolson Tjupurrula.
Mitjili is known for the strength of patterning in the formal arrangements of her work, as in this representation of the woman's side of this Tjukurrpa, the trees that provide the wood for spear shafts and other objects. The country where the trees are found is Uwalki, Mitjili's father's country. This country, near the Kintore Range west of Haasts Bluff is rich in bush food, with plenty of native grass seeds for bush damper, as well as animals such as turkeys and kangaroos. Stands of desert oaks form vertical patterns against the shimmering sands.
Mitjili was taught her father's Tjukurrpa by her mother, who drew images in the sand of Uwalki.
· 1993 Australian Heritage Award, Canberra, ACT
· 1994 Northern Territory Art Award, Alice Springs, NT
· 1999 Alice Springs Art Award
· 2000 Niagara Galleries, Melbourne
· 1998 Niagara Galleries, Melbourne
· 1997 Niagara Galleries, Melbourne
· 1996 Niagara Galleries, Melbourne
Selected Group Exhibitions
· 2000 Beyond the Pale , Adelaide Festival Exhibition, Art Gallery of South Australia.
· 1999-2000 Ikuntji Tjuta touring , Regional Galleries of NSW, QLD, SA, NT.
· 1999 Spirit Country: Contemporary Australian Aboriginal Art , Fine Arts Museum
of San Francisco, USA.
· 1997 Ikuntji Tjuta in Canberra, Alliance Francaise, ACT.
· Dreamings: Aboriginal Kunst uit Australie , Netherlands.
· Aboriginal Art, Goteborgs Konstforening, Sweden.
· The Desert Mob Art Show , Araluen, NT.
· 14th National Aboriginal Art Award , NT.
· 28th Alice Prize , Araluen, NT.
Mulch & Metaphors: The Garden in Contemporary Art , Mornington Peninsula
Regional Gallery, Vic.
· 13th Biennial Spring Festival of Drawing , invited, Mornington Peninsula Regional
· 1996 Heritage Art Award , ACT.
· 1995 National Aboriginal Art Award , NT.
Northern Territory Art Award , Alice Springs, NT.
· 1994 Heritage Art Award , ACT.
Australian High Commission & Shangri-la Hotel, Singapore.
· Art Gallery of New South Wales
· Baillieu Myer, de Young Museum, San Fransisco, USA.
· Flinders University, SA.
· Campbelltown Regional Gallery, NSW.
· Latrobe University, Vic.
· Mornington Peninsula Gallery, Vic.
· Art Gallery of South Australia, SA.
· Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, NT.
· National Gallery of Victoria, Vic.
· National Gallery of Australia, ACT
· Art Gallery of Western Australia, WA.
· Private collections, Australia & overseas.
· 1999 The Alice Prize, Alice Springs Art Foundation, Northern Territory.