Yuparli, Bush Banana Dreaming
59" x 59"
124 cm x 124 cm
Eunice Napangardi was one of the original Aboriginal women painters from Papunya in Central Australia and was one of the seminal artistic presences in Aboriginal art until her death in 2005. She was one of three Aboriginal women artists selected to participate in the landmark Bicentennial Traveling Exhibition of 1988. Eunice's works can be found around the world in both private and public collections.
Eunice's bush banana Dreamings (Yuparli) are fundamentally about the generative life force. Yuparli grows in dry river beds and rock crevices in spinifex country. The plant is both food and medicine.
As the Kingka Kutjara traveled the land during the Dreamtime Creation era, they came upon the site called Pikili (Vaughan Springs). Here the Yurparli Dreaming was enacted and passed on.
In this painting, titled "Yurpali", Eunice depicts a stylized representation of a bush banana plant with its radiating vines. The bush banana grows in rock crevices close to dry river beds in spinifex country. The bush banana is illustrated in a variety of colors indicating the different stages of the plant's life cycle. This edible fruit can be eaten either raw or cooked and is collected on a daily basis by Aboriginal women. In depicting the bush banana this painting also celebrates fertility and the recurring seasons. The search for edible fruits and other valuable sources of bush tucker is an important part of Aboriginal life, not only as a means of day-to-day survival, but as a way of ensuring the continued fertility of human and ancestral populations. Women are the principal gatherers of bush tucker and are also the main painters of celebrating bush tucker.
The greatness of this painting goes far beyond the traditional narrative of customary Aboriginal food and gathering activities, and the celebration of fertility of the land. Yuparli, Bush Banana Dreaming is overtly an encounter with the transcendental object; the generative force of the universe. The painting suggests an association with the elemental forces at the moment of the creation of the universe, the instant after singularity (the Big Bang), the start point of the creation of the countless galaxies, star clusters, worlds, and beings still being created from the moment of the universe's birth.
Born: Early 1950’s
Died: September 2005
Area: North West Alice Springs,
Eunice Napangardi was born at Yuendumu in the early 1950’s. Eunice was of the Luritja / Warlpiri tribal groupings and had 3 sisters, Pansy Napangardi, Alice Napangardi and Rene Robinson Napangardi with whom, she shared many of her Dreaming stories. Eunice was one of the first women artists to paint and started painting by helping her “old bush husband” Kaapa Tjampitjinpa, painting his series of “Town Paintings” in the early 1980’s. Kaapa was one of the original group of painters influenced by Geoffrey Bardon in Papunya in the early 1970’s, in what is considered to be the beginning of The Western Desert Art Movement, a movement that is generally held to be the starting point of Aboriginal art as a specific "genre" all its own.
In the late 1980’s, Eunice began to paint her own dreamings. She was one of the leading painters at the Centre for Aboriginal Artist’s and also worked in the Stockman’s Hall of Fame. Eunice was one of three artists requested for the Australian Bicentennial Traveling Exhibition in 1988.
In 1991 she exhibited at the Aboriginal Arts Australia Gallery in Sydney with Maxie Tjampitjimpa, and travelled to Sydney for the opening. Eunice completed two major commissions. One being for the Alice Springs Airport, which opened in December 1991 and the other for a travelling exhibition which started in Washington, D.C., USA in 1992. Eunice exhibited in Brisbane with her sister, Pansy Napangardi in a two women show. She passed away September 29, 2005.
1988 – Furniture painting project, “Australian Bicentennial Travelling Exhibition”
1989 - “Tjukurrpa” Exhibition, Baxland Gallery
1991 – “Eunice Napangardi & Maxi Tjampitjinpa” Exhibition, Aboriginal Arts Australia Gallery, Sydney, N.S.W.
1991 - World Bank Exhibition, Washington, D.C., USA
1992 –Travelling Exhibition, beginning Washington, U.S.A. 1992 – “Two Women” Exhibition, with Pansy Napangardi, Brisbane, Qld.
1997 - Manningham Art Space, Melbourne
1998 - Chapel off Chapel Gallery, Melbourne
1999 - Mia Mia Aboriginal Gallery, Melbourne
2000 - Mia Mia Aboriginal Gallery, Melbourne
2003 - Eunice Napangardi & Kubbtji Tjungurrayi “ Colour ” Exhibition, Red Desert Gallery, Eumundi, QLD
Museum of Victoria, Melbourne
South Australian Museum, Adelaide
Wollongong City Art Gallery
Federal Airports Corporation Collection
Richard Kelton Foundation Collection, Santa Monica, USA
Stockmen's Hall of Fame, Sydney
Numerous Private collections
Isaacs, J., 1989, Australian Aboriginal Paintings, Weldon Publishing, New South Wales
Johnson, V., 1994, The Dictionary of Western Desert Artists, Craftsman House, East Roseville, New South Wales(C)
Maughan, J., and Zimmer, J., (eds), 1986, Dot and Circle, a Retrospective Survey of the Aboriginal Acrylic Paintings of Central Australia, exhib. cat., Communication Services Unit, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne (C)
Premont, R., and Lennard, M., 1988, Tjukurrpa, Desert Paintings of Central Australia, Centre for Aboriginal Artists, Alice Springs