Puntutjapana by Mantua James Nangala

Mantua Nangala 'Puntutjapana'122 x 91cm.jpg
Mantua Nangala 'Puntutjapana'122 x 91cm.jpg

Puntutjapana by Mantua James Nangala


Mantua James Nangala c. 1959

Acrylic on canvas

121 x 91cm

©The artist, Papunya Tula Artists Pty Ltd

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Sophisticated, perceived linear abstraction are often the hallmark of art of the Pintupi people. However, they are essentially entrenched in the landscape, sacred lore and ceremony.

'This painting by Mantua James Nangala, relates to the soakage water site of Puntujapana, west of Kiwirrkura Community and near Jupiter Well in Western Australia. A group of women travelled from west and camped at this site before continuing east to Marrapinti, Kiwirrkura and Wirrulnga.  While in the area of Puntutjapana, they gathered the edible fruit known as pura, or bush tomato, from the small shrub Solanum chippendalei.  This fruit is the size of an apricot and after the seeds have been removed, can be stored for some time by threading the fruit on to skewers made from straight sticks.  The lines with the attached arc shapes in the painting represent the stored fruit.'      Text ©Papunya Tula Artists Pty Ltd

Nangala learnt to paint whilst assisting her father at Kintore in the early 1980’s. Mantua paints designs associated with secret Tingari ceremonies at the site of Tjulna, located south-east of Kiwirrkura and other sites of her father’s Country. She is the sister of Ray James Tjangala and George Yapa Tjangala, all of whom have painted for Papunya Tula Artists.

Nangala was a small girl when her father Anatjari Tjampitjinpa and her mother Mamurlu Napaltjari came in from the desert in 1963, one of the last groups to do so under the direction of Welfare patrols lead by Jeremy Long. The patrol, with Nosebag Tjupurrula and a Tjampitjinpa from Papunya had been looking for them on the road (the origianl raod made by Lea Beadel west in to Western Australia from the Sandy Blight Junction). The met at Mukala. At the time, Nangala and her family were living on ‘bush mangari’, or damper (a sort of bread), made from seeds and were getting scarce water from rockholes.

Nangala trained as a healthcare worker and in 1984, was involved with the first contact of the very last group to emerge from the Gibson desert, being her Tjalpaltjari uncle, her mother’s brothers.


National Gallery of Victoria

The University of Melbourne