Nancy Gibson Napanangka

Nancy Gibson Napanangka

Date of Birth: c. 1932

Region: Nyirripi (Nyirrpi), Northern Territory

Language: Walrpiri, Pintupi

Nancy Gibson Napanangka was born at Lappi Lappi in the area of Lake Hazlet. Nancy was raised in the region known as Nyirripi near the Tanami Desert. The region holds a strong tradition of tribal iconography relating to ceremonial practices.

Nancy commenced painting for Warlukurlangu Arts in 2006. Nancy’s designs represent aspects of the women’s ceremony such as body painting used during the “inma” or tribal dance. Nancy’s choice of colour relates very closely to the traditional ochres and fibres used during the preparation of the inma ground designs. She also includes depictions of women sitting with long digging sticks or “wana”. This implement formed an important part of the women’s possessions. Not only is the wana functional it is also a powerful women’s symbol. The linear pattern making up the design represents the women’s body decoration, which adorns the participants during ceremony. The relationship between this design and the “nympara” or woven hair belt and the undulating appearance of the sand dune environment connects the idea of a holistic concept of the land and the individual. The body scarifying, which is still a practice used today also reflects this connection with the earth. These sacred designs contain “song lines” and are used during ceremony for the purpose of storytelling and passing on tribal knowledge.