Katarra Butler Napaltjarri Paintings

Katarra Butler Napaltjarri, b.1946 near Tjukurla, paints Women’s stories & ancestral country, wife of late artist Anatjari Tjakamarra

Katarra Butler Napaltjarri was born around 1946 in Western Australia near the location of Tjukurla community. She grew up in this bush country with her family, living a traditional hunter gatherer lifestyle.

While she was living on her traditional lands Katarra Butler Napaltjarri married Anatjari Tjakamarra. Katarra was the second wife to Anatjari Tjakamarra, the first wife being her older sister Nguya Napaltjarri. This family group continued living on their traditional lands long after many desert families had moved to the east to the settlements that existed on the edge of the desert.

In 1966 the group, including four children, began travelling on foot towards the settlements 500kms to the east of their homelands. They were heading towards Papunya when they were met by a patrol truck from the Weapons Research group. They were taken into Papunya by truck and reunited with other countrymen from their traditional lands.

The family were living in Papunya when the painting movement began there in 1971. Anatjari Tjakamarra was one of the original painting men with Geoffrey Bardon and an original shareholder in the Papunya Tula group. In 1974 Anatjari lead a group of senior men on an expedition back onto their traditional country. By the 1980s Anatjari was taking a lead role in establishing a new outstation at Tjukurla, located between Kintore and Docker River. Later the group pushed further towards their country with some basic facilities set up at Kulkuta.

Katarra Butler Napaltjarri and her family group initially travelled between Papunya and Tjukurla, and then later on between Tjukurla and Kiwirrkura. Katarra Butler Napaltjarri began painting in 2001, painting Women’s stories from her home country. Katarra described her subject to author Vivien Johnson as ‘stories from long time, walking in the bush.’ Katarra Butler Napawltjarri has travelled extensively over her traditional lands from the time of first contact in the mid 1960s, through all the changes associated with the outstations movement and the growth of the desert art movement.