Debra Nangala McDonald was born in 1969 at Papunya some 300 km’s north/east of Alice Springs. She has lived at Haasts Bluff and at present resides in Adelaide. Debra works closely with her mother in law Mitjili Napurrula a very popular and well published indigenous artist. She visited our gallery earlier this year (2017) and spent some time in our Studio to paint her stories. A background to her paintings can be found in Geoffrey and James Bardon’s book “Papunya: A Place Made After the Story. The Beginning of the Western Desert Painting Movement”.
Debra usually uses traditional colours and often combines black, red and white as well as other earthy colours to tell the age old stories from her family’s ancestry.
Painting her stories, the artist has also built on the legacy of her grandfather Shorty Lungkata Tjungurrayi with paintings that refer to his country south of Lake MacDonald. These stories include the Goanna Love story, which shows the circular mounds of sand around the burrows of the goanna and which refers both to the spirits of ancestors, the goanna as well as to the hunters who seek out the nests.