Margaret Lewis Napangardi
Margaret Lewis Napangardi - Warlpiri artist, sister of the late Dorothy Napangardi Robertson.
Margaret Lewis Napangardi has had a close association with the great contemporary artists of Yuendumu and Nyirripi. Besides her sister, the late Dorothy Napangardi Robertson, she has also been close with Judy Napangardi Watson. The women artists share the great Warlpiri Jukurrpa of the Women’s Ceremony at Mina Mina, which has been a central theme in the contemporary work of all three artists.
Margaret Lewis Napangardi was born in 1952 at Mt Doreen Station, located in Warlpiri country and currently being allocated to traditional owners under Native Title agreements. Margaret has seen the expansion of artistic activity in the settlement of Yuendumu from 1985, when the art centre began operations.
Her father Paddy Japanangka Lewis, was an outstanding painter from the small outstation of Nyirripi. Her sister Dorothy Napangardi, was one of the foremost Aboriginal artists of Central Australia, creating a powerful body of work based on minimal designs associated with the Mina Mina Women’s Dreaming site. Dorothy’s untimely death in 2013 in a vehicle roll-over while on a group hunting trip out bush, was a serious loss to the art world and to all of Margaret’s family.
While Dorothy Napangardi Robertson refined the imagery around Mina Mina and expressed it in black and white tones, Judy Napangardi Watson used a high keyed range of colours and the imagery was energetic and expansive. Margaret Lewis Napangardi has acquired aspects of both these contrasting styles. Her most recent paintings have been restrained in colour although they still contain some high contrasts of red and black. Across these styles Margaret Lewis Napangardi still draws on elements of the refined dot work of her sister and the thick bands of single colours used by Judy Napangardi Watson.
Margaret Lewis Napangardi has focused on the Jukurrpa or Dreaming stories that belong to her clan, and has sought innovative ways to express her connection with those ancient stories.
The Warlpiri artists have been working out these competing forces in their painting for decades, bouncing between the traditional expectations of Jukurrpa and the desire to unleash the colour, energy and celebration inherent in their feelings for their subject. Margaret Lewis Napangardi is a Warlpiri artist to watch as she moves to the next stage of her artistic development and her contribution to Aboriginal art. Aboriginal art status – Mid career artist.
2012 Heirs and Successors, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
2012 Little Gems, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
2014 Desert Song, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA