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Kunmanara (Kathleen Inytjiki) Tjapalyi

b. 1948

d. 2016

Kunmanara (Kathleen) Tjapalyi was a senior Yankunytjatjara woman born at Iwantja, east of Mimili Community. Her father’s country was Makirri, near Fregon and her mother’s country was Iltur (Coffin Hill). 

 

Kunmanara’s family travelled over from Watarru once they had heard that piranpa (white people) were handing out rations at Everard Park Station. Her family continued to move around before they settled and found work at Everard Park Station in what is now known as Mimili. Her father became a fencer and built a lot of the fences for Everard Park Station. 

 

Kunmanara grew up on the outskirts of Everard Park Station in the bush and later worked at the station herself, cleaning dishes, tending to the garden and looking after the children of the station managers. She met her late husband, Jack Tjapalyi (dec.), in Mimili, and they had three children together. Her son Trevor and daughter Tanya Umatji still live in Mimili, with Umatji being an artist in her own right today. 

 

Kunmanara was raised in the bush and continued to cherish a traditional life until her passing. She had great knowledge of inma (song and dance), Tjukurpa and country, which she was passionate about passing on to the younger generations through her paintings.

 

She began painting late 2010, with her raw and delicate mark becoming renown quickly. In 2016 she was a finalist in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.