ESTHER GILES NAMPITJINPA
c. 1948 -
Esther Giles Nampitjinpa is the most talented artist to come out of the community at Tjukurla on the West Australian and Northern Territory border. Her work has been exhibited at the prestigious Venice Biennale (Italy) in 2011, at the exhibition ‘Vivid Memories – An Aboriginal Art History’ at the Bordeaux Musée d’Aquitaine (France) in 2014, and at oversees art shows in Europe (Maastricht, Amsterdam) and the United States (Miami, San Francisco, New York). More recently, Esther Giles Nampitjinpa has been announced a finalist in 2015’s National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA), with her work on display at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory in Darwin.
Born around 1948 and raised in traditional law in the desert with her extended family, Esther Giles Nampitjinpa was known for her skill as a traditional basket weaver, just like her sister Tjawina Porter Nampitjinpa, before becoming recognised for her exceptional painting skills. Her ‘first contact’ with western civilisation was harsh; in 1956 her father was shot and killed by a lone white man in an unprovoked attack. He was then strung up in a tree, witnessed by the young Esther.
Utilising traditional dotting techniques to paint her country, Esther’s work depicts sand dunes known as ‘tali’ and rock escarpments known as ‘puli’, as well as waterholes located near her ‘country’, which includes the sites of Yumari, Punkilpirri and Tjalili.
“But here it is: a painting for the ages from the far desert, made with confidence, conceived in quiet authority. Kuru Yurltu can be read not just as the ultimate large-scale painted narrative of the sandhill country of the west or as the adventure tale of a spirit being journeying into the future, but as the veiled story of Esther Giles herself: born in the bush, brought into settlement, tried by life, until she is driven to reach back in time, into the pools of herself and the depths of her ancestral landscape — and there she finds, waiting for her, as they always have been, beauty, serenity and health.” (Painting memoirs of her past lives’, 30/07/2010)
Today, her vivacious character is projected onto the canvas in her beautiful and detailed paintings which are heavily collected. Recently her work has been included in important domestic and international private collections including the Kerry Stokes collection and the Corrigan collection.
Would you like to view more works by Esther Giles Nampitkinpa? Feel free to contact us on (02) 9660 7799 or [email protected]