Doris Bush Nungarayi was born in about 1942 at Haasts Bluff. Her father, who was Warlpiri, came in to the ration depot from his country west of Nyrripi and around Kintore after the birth of Doris’s eldest brother Wirri Tjungurrayi. Her mother Yalkutjari Nakamarra was a Pintupi woman from the Kintore region whose father was ‘boss’ for the Kintore region and is buried there. Doris is a contraction of Dorothy – she is also known by her “bush name” Darinji. She had a younger sister also called Dorothy (b1952) whose “bush name” was Danisa.
Doris grew up at Haasts Bluff where she met and married George Bush Tjangala, a Luritja/Amnatyerre speaking man whose family came from just west of Alice Springs. Together they had three sons, Kenny, Christopher and Simon. Doris has six granchildren; granddaughters Stephanie, Benita, Verina and Chelsea-Anne and grandsons Gavin and Joshua.
George Bush was one of Papunya Tula Artists’ original shareholders, though he did not paint much for the company apart from a brief period in the early 1980s. In the mid 1980′s the family went to live on an outstation at Nulyumanu in Doris’s mother’s country out towards the WA/NT border. Later the couple divided their time between Papunya and Alice Springs, where George painted for the ‘government gallery’ (Centre for Aboriginal Artists and Craftsmen) in Alice Springs.
Doris’s only surviving sibling, her brother Willy Nakanbala, lives in Papunya. After her husband’s death in 1997, Doris spent increasing amounts of time in Papunya. Doris was a familiar figure in some of the Aboriginal art galleries of Alice Springs, asking for canvas and paints, although she received no encouragement.
When Papunya Tjupi Arts was established in late 2007, Doris quickly became one of the most prolific and enthusiastic painters in the community. In 2012 she had her first solo exhibition at Damien Minton Gallery in Redfern Sydney.
Doris paints for Ikuntji Artists and Papunya Tjupi Arts, moving in between both communities.
Doris also paints vivid memories, stories and dreams from her life, with her work often telling happy stories from her early days in Ikuntji; eating, hunting and swimming with her friends and family in the bush. Doris’ works embody her nature of a true storyteller with her expressive style, bold use of colour and recognisable motifs. Doris is renowned as one of the most prolific and enthusiastic artists in the community and is usually the first to arrive each morning when – or even before – the doors open.
She is the Winner of 2023 Sulman Prize and is a finalist for the 2023 Wynne Prize, 2020 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards, Bayside Acquisitive Art Prize (2019) and shortlisted in the Alice Art Prize (2018). Her work is held in the Artbank Collection, Macquarie Bank Collection, AGNSW, University of Western Sydney Collection, The Hassall Collection and private collections.
- Artbank Collection
- Macquarie Bank Collection
- University of Western Sydney Collection