Molly Jugadai Napaltjarri - SEVEN SISTERS MN1680

Molly Jugadai Napaltjarri Seven Sisters Australian Aboriginal Art Painting on canvas MN1680


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Artist: Molly Jugadai Napaltjarri
Skin Name: Napaltjarri
Born: 1954 - 2011
Region: West of Kintore
Language: Pintupi/Luritja
Subjects and Themes(Dreaming): Seven Sisters, Bush Tucker Haast Bluff.



Maluya Jugadai (Molly) is the eldest daughter of artists Narputta Nangala and Timmy Jugadai Tjungurrayi. She had a younger sister, artist Daisy Jugadai Napaltjarri, who died in 2008. 

Maluya was instrumental in the establishement of 

Ikuntji Art Centre in 1992 and has been a staunch supporter and practising artist at the studio ever since. Maluya was born under a Ngalta tree about three kilometres west of the existing Haasts Bluff community, Northern Territory 04/03/1954, shortly after the establishment of the mission community of the period. 

'Napaljarri' or 'Napaltjarri' is a skin name, one of sixteen used to denote the subsections or subgroups in the kinship system of central Australian Indigenous people. These names define kinship relationships that influence preferred marriage partners and may be associated with particular totems. Although they may be used as terms of address, they are not surnames in the sense used by Europeans. Thus 'Molly Jugadai' is the element of the artist's name that is specifically hers.


 A Napaltjarri skin woman, Maluya in her first decade of artistry initially painted the story of the “Napaltjarri Children (or Sisters)” who came in space ships to earth thousands of years ago. They represent the first people on earth. The children travel the country every night seeking dew and mungari amid the vegetation of the desert. Due to illness her mother, Narputta, has granted Molly permission to paint the story of the massive salt lake, Kaarkurutintya (Lake MacDonald), which is the sacred country of Narputta. Surrounded by tali, or sand hills, the lake is mostly depicted during the dry season, but is sometimes painted as it appears after heavy rains. 

Western Desert artists such as Molly will frequently paint particular 'dreamings', or stories, for which they have personal responsibility or rights. Mona's dreamings are Ngatijiiri and Warna. Her works are of hers and her grandfather's country, the coming of rain, and of native foods in the region. 

Molly has participated in a group exhibition at Michael Eather's Fire-Works Gallery, and a solo exhibition at Sydney's Hogarth Gallery, both in 2004. She has participated in numerous group and solo shows since that time. One of her paintings appeared as the cover art for the 2005 monograph ‘Peopling’ the Cleland Hills: Aboriginal history in western Central Australia, 1850–1980.

Molly played a significant role in the establishment of the Ikuntji Artists Aboriginal Corporation, set up in the mid-1990s with the assistance of Marina Strocchi, and she is represented by Ikuntji.

Molly Jugadai Napaltjarri is a Pintupi– and Luritja–speaking Indigenous artist from Australia's Western Desert region. Her paintings are held in major collections including the National Gallery of Australia.

Molly has passed away in early May 2011. 


• 2015 Exposition Kaléidoscope millénaire – exhibition in Brussels

• 2015 Art Parade in Perth/Fremantle

• 2015 Kaléidoscope millénaire avec les artistes d'Ikuntji

• 2015 Tarnanthi Festival Art Fair

• 2015 Art Parade 2015

• 2014 Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair

• 2013 Estate Works from an Ikuntji artist, Tali Gallery, Sydney

• 2010 Artkelch, Germany

• 2009 Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney, "IKUNTJI ARTISTS"

• 2009 Beckworth Gallery, Ballarat, VIC, "Ikuntji Artists"

• 2009 Palya Art @ Mary Place, Sydney, "Mixed Show"

• 2009 QDos Arts, Lorne (Victoria), "Ikuntji Artists"

• 2009 ArtMob, Hobart, "Ikuntji Icons"

• 2009 Artequity, Sydney, "Land and Mythology - Art of the Western Desert"

• 2009 Kate Owen Gallery @ Chifley Tower, Sydney, "Visions of the Desert"

• 2009 Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney, "Winter Warmers"

• 2009 Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs, "Desertmob 2009"

• 2009 Desert Sands Contemporary Aboriginal Art, Mayfair London, U.K., ‘Ikuntji’

• 2009 Palya Art @ Cabinet Malemont, Paris, France

• 2009 Woolloongabba Art Gallery, Brisbane, Ikuntji meets Brisbane

• 2009 Palya Art @ Gallows Gallery, Perth, WA

• 2008 Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs NT, "Desertmob"

• 2008 Artitja Fine Art, Perth W.A., "Desert Stories: 2008"

• 2008 Footsteps Gallery, Brisbane, Queensland, "Ikuntji Painters"

• 2008 Jennifer Guerrini-Maraldi Contemporary Fine Art, London England, "Ikuntji Artists"

• 2008 Victoria Carroll and Jennifer Guerrini Maraldi, Battersea London, U.K., ‘Ikuntji’

• 2008 ARTKELCH, Freiburg i.Br., Germany, "Gruppenausstellung"

• 2008 Kingsfisher Gallery, Perth, Western Australia, "Ikuntji Women Painters"

• 2008 Hogarth Galleries, Sydney NSW, "Yungkiya & Kulunypa - Old & New"

• 2008 Woolloongabba Art Gallery, Brisbane QLD, "Ikuntji Now"

• 2008 Gondwana Gallery, Alice Springs & Sydney, "Divas of the Desert"

• 2008 Palya Art @ Mary Place, Sydney, "Group Show"

• 2008 Gondwana Gallery, Sydney, My Mothers Story

• 2008 QDos Gallery, Lorne (Victoria), "Ikuntji Show"

• 2007 Booker Lowe Gallery, Texas, USA, "Group Show"

• 2007 Palya Art, Darwin/Sydney, "Palya @ Mary Place"

• 2007 Gallery Gondwana, "Naïve Show"

• 2007 Ochre Gallery, Melbourne, "Ikuntji Senior Women"

• 2007 Bandigan Gallery, Sydney, "Yaiti Yamimi"

• 2007 Indigenart, Perth, "Ngankirritja"

• 2007 Palya Art, Melbourne, "Group Show"

• 2007 Short St Gallery, Broome, "Group Show"

• 2007 Araluen Gallery, Alice Springs, "Desert Mob"

• 2007 Australia Dreaming Art, Melbourne, "Group Show"

• 2007 Gondwana Gallery, Alice Springs, "Divas of the Desert"

• 2007 Woolloongabba Art Gallery, Brisbane, "Where The Wild Flowers Grow"

• 2006 Red Dot Gallery, Singapore, "Anangu"

• 2006 Araluen Gallery, Alice Springs, "DesertMob"

• 2005 "Big Country", Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs

• 2005 Strata, Araluen Alice Springs

• 2005 Indigenart, Perth

• 2005 "Desert Divas", Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs

• 2005 "Concord", Framed Gallery, Darwin

• 2004 Fireworks, Brisbane

• 2004 Hogarth Galleries, Sydney, My Grandmothers Dreaming

• 2004 Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London

• 2004 Desert Mob, Araluen, Alice Springs

• 2004 Indigenart, Perth

• 2004 Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne


The Napaltjarri sisters descend from the seven sisters constellation in the sky, at evening time. As they fall, dew collects on the grass and makes the flowers and bush tucker grow. The sisters roam the earth collecting bush tucker, goanna and bush turkey and vegetables.


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