Kelly Dixon

Kelly Dixon

Skin name:NungarrayiLanguage:LuritjaDate of birth:1970-05-01Community:Haasts Bluff : NT

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Kelly is the daughter of acclaimed artist Alice Nampitjinpa Dixon and granddaughter of Papunya Tula Artists founding member Uta Uta Tjangala (Alice’s step father). Uta Uta was central to the establishment of Papunya Tula Artists in 1972 where he painted continuously into the late 1980s. In the 1970s he travelled extensively through the western desert, settling in Muyin outstation, west of Kintore in the early 1980s. 

Kelly was born in Lambara outstation, West of Papunya in 1970. She first came to Haasts Bluff with her mother and father when she was four years old. Kelly primarily grew up in Haasts Bluff though has spent much time travelling. When Kelly was a child she moved between Yeyi, Papunya and Haasts Bluff with her family. In the late 1970s she was living with her family in Papunya. Due to large migrations into the area, Papunya community was experiencing increasing problems with fighting and alcohol. The elder men of the community including Kelly’s grandfather Uta Uta had a meeting and decided to return to their country in Kintore.

 When Kelly was 14, she remembers travelling from Papunya to Yayayi, to Lambarra, Waruwiya, Mt Liebig, Nubo (West of Mt Liebig) and then back to Kintore with her sister, Kathleen Dixon and school teacher and former guitarist of Warumpi band, Neil Murray. She also travelled to Sydney with her mother, Alice and her niece from Kintore High school to teach traditional women’s dancing to students there. She remembers teaching 18yr old students to dance and to paint their bodies. When she was 20 years old, she travelled to Brisbane for school holidays with her teacher, Jeff Malcombe. She remembers going shopping there and taking the train to Newmarket, this was the first time she had taken a train. After attending Yirara College she returned to Kintore, and later to Haasts Bluff, where she has lived ever since. At thirty years old, Kelly began working at the Haasts Bluff childcare centre. In 2012, she started painting for Ikuntji Artists, where she continues to work and paint today. Kelly paints her grandmother’s (mother’s side) Tjukurrpa called Minjinperri, located East of Kintore. Kelly now works full time as an arts worker at Ikuntji Artists. She currently focuses her time on making jewellery from the native ininti seeds and gum nuts. She often spends hours delicately hand painting seeds to be made into necklaces, bracelets and earrings.  In 2017-2018, Kelly successfully completed a certificate 1 in visual arts through Bachelor Institute in Alice Springs where she learnt to design and print fabric, both digitally and by hand. In 2018, Kelly worked with Ikuntji Artist as Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair and Desert Mob. In 2018, Kelly’s designs were featured in Parrtjima festival, being turned into large lanterns in their ‘Forest Space’ installation. Kelly continues to work at Ikuntji artists as an arts worker where she assists elderly artists and makes ininti jewellery.

Past Exhibitions

  • Desert Mob 2018, Araluen, Alice Springs NT 2018-09-06
  • Desert Mob 2017, Araluen, Alice Springs NT 2017-09-08
  • Blak Markets at Barrangaroo, Sydney NSW 2017-07-02
  • Ngurra Kutju - Tjukurrpa Tjuta, One Country - Many Stories, Exhibition at Colin Biggers & Paisley, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane 2017-06-20
  • 10th Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair, Darwin Convention Centre, Darwin NT 2016-08-05
  • Ikuntji Artists – Paintings from Haasts Bluff, Northern Territory, Jaktman Australian Contemporary Art Gallery 2016-02-25