The sad news of Mr Yunupingu – an icon of indigenous music eclipsed the news of the passing of one of my most favourite painters – Dorothy Napangarti. I was shocked to hear that she had died in a car crash in Alice Springs. The news reported that she had been on a goanna hunt, her favourite pastime. I would like to think it would be up there with painting.
I have very little wall space where I am so just the very few have pride of place and it his her work holds that special connection for me. I look at it every night before I go to bed, the small black dots joining my sleep.
When I was in Alice I heard of a reputable gallery and made sure on the last day that I would return to the coast with a work that epitomised the desert. I had been to the gallery on my first day here before heading out to camp and had pretty much made up my mind the work I wanted. I walked in and said I wanted to buy the work, a small beautiful piece. The gallery owner/attendant was impressed that I was so smitten with her work. He asked if a had a little time to spare and got up, locked the gallery and took me out the back, across an alley and up some stairs. It was where Ms Napangarti paints when winter sets in. Laid on the ground beautiful canvases in mid-flight and surrounding the walls photos of her and a huge grin with her family and a goanna dangling firmly from her hand. She looked happy. I hope her goanna hunting brought her as much pleasure as her painting and that little piece of desert dreaming has brought me.