Mary Napangardi Gallagher was born in Napperby, a homestead 120 km from Papunya, a remote Aboriginal community in Central Australia. Mary paints her father’s Jukurrpa (Dreamings), which relate to Pikilyi Jukurrpa (Vaughan Springs) a large and important waterhole in the desert country; and Janmarda Jukurrpa (Bush Onion Dreaming).
Mary remembers playing in this area as a child, while collecting bush tucker with her family. The Jukurrpa at Napperby belongs to all Napangardi, Napanangka, Japangardi and Japanangka descendants and has been passed down over the millennia to the present day through many generations of the artists’ ancestors.
When Mary was a young adult, she moved with her family to the Aboriginal community of Yuendumu, located in the Tanami Desert region around 290 km from Alice Springs. Mary met and married her husband in Yuendumu and later moved to Nyirripi, a remote Aboriginal outstation about 160 km north-west of Yuendumu, to bring up her ﬁve children Ben, Duncan, Richard, Eldy and Rea, and several grandchildren. Mary and her grown-up children still live at Nyirripi.
Mary has been painting with Warlukurlangu Arts Aboriginal Corporation, an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre based in Yuendumu, since 2006. The art centre staﬀ regularly visit Nyirripi to collect ﬁnished work and drop oﬀ canvas, paint and brushes for the artists. When Mary is not painting, she likes to go hunting with her family for goanna and bush tucker.