Sonia Jugadai

Sonia Jugadai

Sonia was born in 1969 in the bush in Papunya. Sonia is the daughter of Ikuntji Artists’ founding member Narputta Nangala Jugadai and Timmy Jugadai. Narputta was one the most acclaimed artists from Ikuntji Artists and a founding member.

Narputta was born at Lake Mcdonald in Western Australia. Her and her family  travelled 400 kilometres east to Haasts Bluff on foot when the ration stations were first set up. Her brother was Riley Major, who painted regularly for Papunya Tula Artists in the 1980s. Riley’s country is around Piltarta and Muruntji, south-west of Mt Liebig. He often painted the Snake Dreaming story associated with the site Kakarra. Narputta’s sister was Tatali Nangala, another key artist from Ikuntji Artists early days. She was born in the mountains along the eastern side of Kintore Community. In Haasts Bluff, she married Charlie Tarawa Tjunggarayi, together they had seven children. Their daughter, Eileen Anyama Napaltjarri is an established painter, and has been painting for Ikuntji Artists and Papunya Tula for many years. Their family used to stop for water at Muruntji, which is located west of Haasts Bluff. It was at Purritjara, just west of Muruntji, that Narputta’s father, Sonia’s grandfather, Tjampitjinpa, encountered another tribe and was killed by them. He is buried there in Muruntji. Their father passed away when Riley was only a small child, so the two were taken to Hermannsburg with the missionaries and raised by the Inkamala family there. Narputta then moved back to Haasts Bluff, where she met her husband Timmy Jugadai. Riley Major moved to Kintore, where he has lived most of his life. He has had two wives and many grandchildren. He now has one wife.

Sonia’s father, Timmy was a stockman. He travelled from Yuendumu, south towards Haasts Bluff with horses and cattle. He stopped at 5 mile Bore, Close to Papunya, where Sonia spent some of her childhood. She remembers having lots of chickens, goats and horses. She went to Primary school at Haasts Bluff in the old silver bullet. She then went to Yirara College in Alice Springs. After Yirara she returned to Haasts Bluff and worked at the clinic as a cleaner. She remembers working with Gary Young. She then married Albie Jack, son of Eunice Napanangka Jack, a founding member of Ikuntji Artists and acclaimed artist. They had one daughter together, ‘Young’ Eunice, born in 1986. Young Eunice has two children.

Sonia remembers helping her mother painting, and listening to those stories from Lake MacDonald. Her mother used to sing that Dreaming. In her 20s she painted here and there at home with her mother. She remembers when the Women’s Centre first opened in 1992, “everyone was there”, she says. Sonia only started painting for Ikuntji Artists in 2018. She says she started because, “I like to do it for my mothers’ story.” She started painting using dots, and then moved onto bold brush stroked and colours. She depicts tali (sand hills) using vibrant colours and bold brush strokes, reminiscent of her mothers bold style. She paints Karrkurrutinytja (Lake Macdonald), like her mother.


Upcoming Exhibitions

Past Exhibitions


  • 2023
    Linden Postcard Show 2023-24, Melbourne VIC
  • 2023
    Tarnanthi Art Fair, Adelaide SA
  • 2023
    Desert Mob, Araluen, Alice Springs NT
  • 2018
    'Haasts Bluff' contemporary art from the Ikuntji Artists, Yaama Ganu Gallery, Moree.
  • 2017
    11th Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair, Darwin Convention Centre, Darwin.