BORN circa 1945
REGION Walungurru (Kintore) – Northern Territory
Born in the Pintupi country North-West of Walungurru, Wentja came first to Haasts Bluff then moved to Papunya.
It was here that her father, Shorty Lungkata Tjungurrayi was born. Shorty was one of the original founders of the Western Desert Art movement.
With her sister, Tjunkiya Napaltjarri, she took part in the Minyma Tjukurrpa Project (Women’s Dreaming Project) from the Ikuntji (Haasts Bluff) and Walungurru (Kintore) Art Centres; and her art was included in the first exhibition of paintings produced at that time.
Her son Bundy Rowe Tjupurrula is also a painter.
Together father and daughter hunted bandicoot, goanna and echidna and dug for Macu (witcherty grubs);
These animals now form part of Wentja’s Tjukurrpa (Dreaming) handed down by her father.
“Water Dreaming” and “Blue Tongue Lizard Dreaming” also form part of her Dreaming.
Wentja’s early system of connecting concentric circles and dotted bands have now been replaced by mesmerising fields of tonal colours.
Her paintings are less geometric, and display a key motif- in most cases a large roundel which represents an important rockhole where her family regularly camped.
Surrounding the rockhole is a charged energy field of intricate dots- the soft dotting technique being characteristic of many Mt Liebig artists. Whilst she works, Wentja sings about the rockhole and the songs and the music are incorporated into her paintings.
Wentja is a very talented artist with an accomplished and distinctive style. Her works have been highly sought after for the past decade- being included in such major collections as the Kerry Stokes and Thomas Vroom Collections, the National Aboriginal Art and Cultural Institute in Adelaide, and many State Gallery and University collections.
Wentja’s work has been included in leading Australian and International exhibitions, including Masterpieces from the Western Desert, held in London in 2008. Wentja has been a finalist in the telstra National and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award from 2001-2004 and again from 2006-2008.