Ngupulya Pumani was a cultural leader of remarkable strengths, a senior Anangu artist committed to fostering traditional law and culture in her community of Mimili. Ngupulya learnt about the importance of female leadership and Anangu culture from her mother Milatjari Pumani, who was one of the founders of Mimili Maku Arts.
Ngupulya was a regional leader for a long time, speaking up strongly for Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara people across the lands. She led Mimili Maku Arts as a chairperson for a number of years, ensuring sustainable organisation growth, community wellbeing and artistic excellence.
Ngupulya’s paintings radiate her cultural integrity, pride and strength. She learned about painting from her mother Milatjari, whose work is held within a number of major institutions within Australia. Her visual language and iconography is very close to her mother’s, using multi-layered veils of colour to create unique compositions and narratives of her country, celebrating the ongoing cultural connection of Anangu women to Antara.
Ngupulya celebrated Anangu knowledge every day – on and off the canvas, maintaining the cultural authority for Antara, and the Maku (witchetty grub) Tjukurpa. At the art centre, she worked alongside her younger sister, acclaimed painter Betty Kuntiwa Pumani, and her daughter Josina Pumani. She exhibited both nationally and internationally, and has been recognised in a number of painting prizes within Australia.
2020 kinara mimi, RAFT Art Space, Alice Springs
2019 Tarnanthi, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
2019 Nganampa Walytja, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne
2018 Nganampa Ngura Kuruntjara, Olsen Gallery, Sydney
2018 Art of the APY Lands, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne
2018 Malaku Angupai Antaraku, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne
2017 Tarnanthi, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
2017 Finalist, Wynne Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales
2015 Finalist, NATSIAA, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory