Louise Napananka


Born: 12/4/76
Region: Central Desert
Community Centre: Stirling Station, Utopia
Outstation: Atnangkere
Language Bloc: Arandic
Language: Anmatyerre

Louise Numina Napanaka is an Anmatyerre artist and one of six sisters and three brothers who lived at Ti Tree, 190km North of Alice Springs in Central Australia. Her mother is Barbara Mbitjana (Other names: Pananka or Price). She attended primary school at Stirling Station, a cattle station near Tennant Creek. She started painting in 1981 at Utopia after being taught by her internationally renowned aunties, Gloria and Kathleen Petyerre. She later studied at Yirara College in Alice Springs.

In 1995 Louise moved from Alice Springs to Darwin to study at the Nungalinya College and later at the Northern Territory University where she gained a diploma in Fine Arts. Since then, Louise’s work has been extensively exhibited, and purchased from prominent art lovers, collectors and institutions around the world.

Louise and her four sisters, Jacinta, Lanita, Caroline and Sharon Numina, also well-respected artists from Utopia, share many totems including the Bush Medicine Plant and she expresses their connection to the plant in a similar painting style to their famous Aunty, Gloria Petyarre. Louise first began painting the Women’s bush tucker dreamings when she was a young girl. Aboriginal women have their own ceremonies in which a series of song and dance cycles tell of the Ancestral Beings who walked the earth teaching women’s law and ceremony to isolated groups living throughout the desert. Each tribe has its own set of women ancestors with different stories, designs and dances, but most of the ceremonies have one theme common to all groups, that of food gathering as the most important part of women’s lives.

Louise and her sisters are fast emerging as the next artistic dynasty in the contemporary aboriginal art world.