Ursula Napangardi Marks Tanami Desert, Northern Territory, Australia, b. 1979


Ursula Napangardi Marks is a young artist following in the traditions of the Warlpiri people, who now live in small towns in the Tanami Desert. Her paintings depict Jukurrpa (Dreaming Stories) of the Bush Potato and Bush Tomatoes - stories handed down to her from her grandparents.


When the flowers are on the tree the women know that the bush potatoes are ready to dig for. The women look for long, thin cracks along the ground, made from the vines of the potato plant and dig where the cracks are. The potatoes are sometimes more than one meter deep and the women gather them in wooden dishes, called parraja Bush potatoes are cooked on the coals, and have a sweet taste. Bush tomatoes found all over Ursula's desert country. The ripe tomatoes are everywhere. Sometimes a stick is used to push the seeds out and then they are dried in the sun or near a fire. My grandmother sometimes cooked them in the fire for us to eat. 


Her works can be full of colour, or consist of bold confident lines.  Her subjects were handed down to her from her grandparents and she is now a custodian of them. She is a lady who has been in the most important ceremonies for Warlpiri women, including her sons' and nephews' ceremonies.  Her art is informed not only by her personal cultural history, but also by working for the last 10 years with Warnayaka Artists such as Lily Nungarrayi Hargraves, Kitty Napanangka Simon and Rosie & Molly Napurrurla Tasman.Her works have been exhibited in Darwin, Sydney and Brisbane galleries as well as in America.