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Old Woman Travels

Photo: iocolor, Seattle

Old Woman Travels

1995

Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri

Australian Aboriginal, Pintupi people, Papunya, Western Desert, Northern Territory, ca. 1927 - 1998

Old Woman Travels (95.019), 1995
Tjunginpa (Mouse) Dreaming (97.026), 1996
Synthetic polymer paint on canvas
Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri
Australian Aboriginal, Pintupi people, Papunya, Western Desert, Northern Territory, ca. 1927–1998
Promised gift of Margaret Levi and Robert Kaplan, T2011.55.22, .21

Extremely minimal means were chosen by this artist to convey a complex narrative that he inherited. Mick Namarari was a founding member of the desert art movement and contributed a way of codifying and affirming his culture on canvas, but not diminishing its integrity. He offers visual tangents in this painting about the journey of an old woman who was traveling to a reliable source of good water, but was accosted by a group of young boys who she had to discipline. Fluid brushstrokes suggest ribbons of water, as well as endless tracks, perhaps even the soft hum of the desert breeze.

Marks based on the footprints of mice and the berries they eat create an atmospheric field in Tjunginpa (Mouse Dreaming). Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri was raised in a remote corner of the western desert and did not see a white Australian until he was nine. Among the totemic sites he was designated to oversee were: Dingo (native dog), Moon, Wind, Kangaroo, Dancing Women, Wren, Crow, Hopping Mouse and Bandicoot (a marsupial) Dreamings.

--Pam McClusky, Curator of African and Oceanic Art, 2012
Synthetic polymer paint on canvas
35 13/16 x 24 in. (91 x 61cm)
Gift of Margaret Levi and Robert Kaplan
2019.20.6
Provenance: [Papunya Tula Artists, Alice Springs, Australia]; Margaret Levi and Robert Kaplan, Seattle, Washington, 1995
Photo: iocolor, Seattle
location
Not currently on view

Resources

Exhibition HistorySeattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Ancestral Modern: Australian Aboriginal Art from the Kaplan & Levi Collection, May 31 - Sept. 12, 2012 (Nashville, Tenessee, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, June 23 - Oct. 15, 2017; Madison, Wisconsin, Chazen Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin, Jan. 26 - Apr. 22, 2018; Austin, Texas, Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas, June 3 - Sept. 9, 2018; Whistler, British Columbia, Canada, Audain Art Museum, Oct. 5, 2018 - Jan. 28, 2019). Text by Pamela McClusky, Wally Caruana, Lisa Graziose Corrin, and Stephen Gilchrist. Cat. no. 38, pp. 128-129, reproduced.

Seattle Art Museum acknowledges that we are on the traditional homelands of the Duwamish and the customary territories of the Suquamish and Muckleshoot Peoples. As a cultural and educational institution, we honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future. We also acknowledge the urban Native peoples from many Nations who call Seattle their home.