Mitjili paints her fathers Tjukurrpa, the ceremonial spear straightening in Uwalkari country (Gibson desert region). The Watiya Tjuta (Acacia Trees) are the trees that are used to make these spears. Uwalkari country is abundant with Watiya Tjuta, as well as sand hills and other plants. Mitjili paints the motif of the Watiya Tjuta, carrying on the recurring motif as her mother used to draw in the sand. Her mother passed on this Dreaming to her.
Napurrula’s father, Tupa Tjakamarra gave her the right to paint works related to Ilyingaungau in the Gibson Desert. This site, south of Walungurru (Kintore), some 520 kilometres west of Mparntwe (Alice Springs), is where the artist’s Mutikatjirri ancestors assembled their kulata (spears) for a conflict with the Tjukula men. Allusive works that refer to the straightening of kulata by Tjupurrula are among the landmark paintings of the Ikuntji Artists movement’s 30-year history. The paintings of Napurrula and her husband, Long Tom Tjapanangka, have come to be understood as archetypical of Ikuntji art since they began to work with the arts centre in 1993. Napurrula remembers, ‘ … After I got married, my mother taught me my father’s Tjukurrpa in the sand, that’s what I’m painting on the canvas’. The white pigment eddies around abstract forms that refer to the spearwood trees. The tightly structured patterning of the key motifs and bold use of colour demonstrates the artist’s confidence in her individual artistic vision within a family of superlative artists – and the cultural heritage that continues to inform the myriad expressions of Western Desert artists.