Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Seattle Art Museum (SAM)
menu

Marrapinti Rockhole

Photo: iocolor, Seattle

Marrapinti Rockhole

2007

Doreen Reid Nakamarra

Australian Aboriginal, Pintupi people, Papunya, Western Desert, Northern Territory, 1948 - 2009

Marrapinti Rockhole (08.012), 2007
Synthetic polymer paint on canvas
Doreen Reid Nakamarra
Australian Aboriginal, Pintupi people, Papunya, Western Desert, Northern Territory, 1948–2009
Promised gift of Margaret Levi and Robert Kaplan, T2011.55.33

Marrapinti is a freshwater rockhole that the artist painted many times. Eloquent lines convey the flow of water in a creek feeding a deep pool that interrupts the sandhills and offers water and a respite from the heat of the day. Such rockholes are jealously guarded, and respectfully kept clean of debris. They are a source of nourishment for ancestral women, and Doreen Reid Nakamarra remembered the site as a place for women to give birth and gather desert raisins, then dance and sing the songs associated with the area.

The American artist Agnes Martin also saw lines as idyllic signs for endless open plains. In Art News (September 1976), she explained, “I sort of surrendered…. I thought there wasn’t a line that affected me like a horizontal line. Then I found that the more I drew that line, the happier I got. First, I thought it was like the sea…. Then, I thought it was like singing!”

--Pam McClusky, Curator of African and Oceanic Art, 2012
Synthetic polymer paint on canvas
35 13/16 x 35 13/16 in. (91 x 91cm)
Gift of Margaret Levi and Robert Kaplan
2019.20.8
Provenance: [Cross Cultural Art Exchange, Darwin, Australia]; Margaret Levi and Robert Kaplan, Seattle, Washington, 2008
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. 27, pp. 106-107, 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.

Learn more about Equity at SAM