An image of Kinyu

Eubena Nampitjin

(Australia circa 1925 – 11 Mar 2013)

Wirrimanu (Balgo), Western Desert region
Language group
Wangkajunga, Western Desert region


20th & 21st c Australian art
Further information

Eubena Nampitjin was born in Tjinndjaldpa, south of Jupiter Well in the Great Sandy Desert, Western Australia. This area, on the Canning Stock Route and over 350 kilometres inland from Port Hedland, is one of the most remote places in Australia. Nampitjin had little contact with non-indigenous Australians until the late 1940s, when she travelled to Old Mission with her children and first husband. She moved with the mission in 1963 to its present site at Wirrimanu (Balgo). While at the mission, she has regularly returned to live in her country for extended periods.

Nampitjin started painting in 1986, when women were becoming more broadly included in the growing art movement centred on Wirrimanu. Further impetus to paint came in 1989, when the new arts organisation, Warlayirti Artists, was formed. Nampitjin, her husband Wimmitji Tjapangarti and their daughters all painted, often collaboratively.

To outsiders, Nampitjin's homeland in the heart of the Great Sandy Desert may appear desolate on a map; but for the artist, it provides her impetus to paint and is full of life and significance. The surface of 'Kinyu' 2013, is a metaphor for the surface of her country. She represents its sacred rocks, which are associated with Kurinyin, a dingo from the Tjukurrpa. She also depicts a number of waterholes that the artist and her family used when she was younger.

Place of origin
Wirrimanu (Balgo), Western Australia, Australia
Cultural origin
Wirrimanu (Balgo)/Western Desert region
colour etching on paper
50.0 x 40.0 cm image; 66.5 x 60.0 cm sheet
Signature & date

Signed l.r. beneath platemark, pencil "Jane Gimme [artist's daughter]". Not dated.

Mollie Gowing Acquisition Fund for Contemporary Aboriginal Art 2014
Accession number