Monica Napaltjarri is a Pintupi artist born around 1960 in desert country south of Kiwirrkura, 700km to the west of Alice Springs. Monica Napaltjarri’s father was Kirindji Kuku Tjungurrayi (1920 – 1966) and her mother was Wangala Nangala (1944-1963). Monica’s mother died while the family was still in the desert, before they came in to the settlements to join other Pintupi people. After Monica Napaltjarri’s father died, she was brought up by her uncle, Yumpululu Tjungurrayi, who was one of the early Papunya artists.
Monica Napaltjarri made her first paintings in 1996 at Kiwirrkura, alongside other women painters at the community. But it was a number of years later that she began to paint consistently. Monica Napaltjarri takes stories associated with Women’s Dreaming from her grandmother’s country around Kiwirrkura as the subject matter for her paintings. These ceremonial Dreaming sites include locations at Patinya and Karilwara.
Monica Napaltjarri is sister to Joseph Jurra Tjapaltjarri and is related to other artists at Kiwirrkura community, including Takariya Napaltjarri and Yakari Napaltjarri. Painting stories from traditional sources, Monica Napaltjarri tends to work with conventional colour palettes and iconography. Her paintings use the structures of repeated motifs, which create the sense of the extended Tingari narratives that cross her Pintupi lands. Monica Napaltjarri has two children -Maisie Gibson Napurrula and Johnny Gibson Tjupurrula.