Bessie Nakamarra Sims

Bessie Nakamarra Sims

” I like painting cause it’s my Dreaming – Bush Carrot, Yam Dreaming…From my father and grandfather’s side. I like to teach kids my Dreaming. I want everyone to know my Dreaming from all over the world. I know and they can know…”

Bessie Nakamarra Sims was born in the bush in the 1930s and lived for many years before coming into contact with white people at Mt. Doreen Station, west of Yuendumu. She lived in Yuendumu, a remote Aboriginal community located 290 kms north-west of Alice Springs in the NT of Australia, where she died in 2012. Bessie was the wife of Paddy Japaljarri Sims (dec), a renowned artist both nationally and internationally who painted with Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation for a long time, an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre located in Yuendumu.

Bessie did not live in her famous husband’s shadow, for her own work has long been widely admired and collected. Bessie has seven children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Bessie was one of the most valued members of the Warlukurlangu Artists Community. She painted consistently with Warlukurlangu Artists since the centre was first established in 1985 and has exhibited both nationally and internationally in Group Exhibitions since 1986.She painted her Jukurrpa stories, Dreamings which relate directly to her land, its features and the plants and animals that inhabit it.

Besides painting Bessie was an active member of Yuendumu Night patrol which helps keep Yuendumu a safe community. In her spare time she used to loved hunting for wardapi (goanna) and bush tucker such as yarla (bush potato) and yakajirri (bush tomato).

She passed away in Yuendumu May 2012 surrounded by her extended family. Some of her last words were: “Japaljarri” (her husband) is calling me, he is waiting for me”