Aboriginal artist Bessie Nakamarra SimsBessie Nakamarra Sims

Born: 1931-2012
Country: Yuendumu : NT
Skin Name: Nakamarra
Group: Warlpiri
Themes: Bush Plum (Mukaki), Janganpa (Native Possum), Karntajarra (Two Women), Ngalyajiyi (Bush Carrot), Ngarlajiyi (Small Yam), Pamapardu (Flying Ant), Yarla (Bush Potato)

“I like painting cause it’s my Dreaming – Bush Carrot, Yam Dreaming…From my father and grandfather’s side. I like to teach kids my Dreaming. I want everyone to know my Dreaming from all over the world. I know and they can know…”

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Bessie Nakamarra Sims was born in the bush in the 1930s and lived for many years before coming into contact with white people at Mt. Doreen Station, west of Yuendumu. She lived in Yuendumu, a remote Aboriginal community located 290 kms north-west of Alice Springs in the NT of Australia, where she died in 2012. Bessie was the wife of Paddy Japaljarri Sims (dec), a renowned artist both nationally and internationally who painted with Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation for a long time, an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre located in Yuendumu. Bessie did not live in her famous husband’s shadow, for her own work has long been widely admired and collected.

Bessie has seven children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Bessie was one of the most valued members of the Warlukurlangu Artists Community. She painted consistently with Warlukurlangu Artists since the centre was first established in 1985 and has exhibited both nationally and internationally in Group Exhibitions since 1986.

She painted her Jukurrpa stories, Dreamings which relate directly to her land, its features and the plants and animals that inhabit it. Besides painting Bessie was an active member of Yuendumu Night patrol which helps keep Yuendumu a safe community. In her spare time she used to loved hunting for wardapi (goanna) and bush tucker such as yarla (bush potato) and yakajirri (bush tomato).

She passed away in Yuendumu May 2012 surrounded by her extended family. Some of her last words were: “Japaljarri”(her husband) is calling me, he is waiting for me”

Collections
. ABORIGINAL ART MUSEUM, UTRECHT
. ART GALLERY AND MUSEUM, KELVINGROVE, GLASGOW,
SCOTLAND
. ART GALLERY OF NEW SOUTH WALES, SYDNEY
. ART GALLERY OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA, PERTH
. AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE FOR TECHING & SCHOOL
LEADERSHIP
. AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM, SYDNEY
. CENTRAL TAFE PERTH, WA
. DONALD KAHN COLLECTION, USA
. FLINDERS UNIVERSITY COLLECTION, MELBOURNE
. GORDON DARLING FOUNDATION, CANBERRA
. KLUGE RUHE, VA, USA
. MUSEUM OF CULTURAL HISTORY, UNIVERSITY OF OSLO
. MUSEUMS & ART GALLERIES OF THE NORTHERN
TERRITORY
. NATIONAL GALLERY OF AUSTRALIA, CANBERRA
. NEWMONT MINING, USA
. PRIVATE COLLECTIONS
. SHELL, USA
. SOUTH AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM, ADELAIDE
1900 Birnie Danzker, J. Dreamings. Tjukurrpa
Aboriginal Art of the Western Desert The
Donald Kahn Collection Prestel, Munich,
New York,1994
1900 Caruana, W Aboriginal Art, Thames and
Hudson (World of Art),London, 1993
1900 Diggins, L. (ed.) A Myriad of Dreaming
Malakoff Fine Art Press, Melbourne, 1989
1900 Johnstone, C (Dir) The Painted Dream:
Contemporary Aboriginal Paintings From
Tim And Vivien Johnson Collection,
Auckland City Art Gallery, Auckland New
Zealand, 1990
1900 O’Ferrall, M ‘Jukurrpa Desert Dreamings – a
survey of central desert art 1971 – 1993’, Art
Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, 1993
1900 West, M. (ed.) The InspiredDream
Queensland Art Gallery , Brisbane, 1988
1900 Morphy, H. ‘Aboriginal Art’ Phaidon Press
Limited, London, 1998
1900 Morphy, H. and Boles, M.S. (eds.) ‘Art from
the land’ University of Virginia Press,
Virginia, U.S.A., 1999
1900 National Museum of Women in the Arts
‘Dreaming their Way’ Australian Aboriginal
Women Painters, 2006

Group Exhibitions
2011 Worawa College Exhibition, Healesville, VIC
2010 McCulloch & McCulloch/Jive Art, Noosa, QLD
2010 Exposition d’art aborigène d’Australie, IDAIA and Galerie Princesse de Kiev, France
2010 ‘Warlu manu Ngapa: Fire & Water’ – Bookerlowe Gallery, Texas, USA
2010 Desert Mob, Araluen Cultural Centre, Alice Springs, NT
2010 Gecko Gallery Exhibition, Gecko Gallery, Broome, NT
2010 Gecko Gallery Exhibition, Gecko Gallery, Broome, NT
2010 Arrweketye Areyele Ayeye ileme – Mother, Daughter, Sister Show, Gondwana Gallery, Alice Springs NT
2010 ‘We Walk Together as Friends’, 6th Shalom Gamarada Ngiyani Yani, Sydney NSW
2010 Circles in the Sand, Kluge-Ruhe Collection, Virginia USA
2010 Colours of Yuendumu, Marianne Newman Gallery, NSW
2010 Jukurrpa – Our Story. National Aboriginal Cultural Institute, Tandanya, Adelaide, SA
2010 Warlukurlangu Artists – Recent Works, Hogarth Gallery, Sydney NSW
2010 Star Dreaming, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle, WA
2010 Star Dreaming, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle, WA
2009 Desert Mob 2009, Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs NT
2009 Warlukurlangu Survey Show, ReDot Gallery, Singapore
2009 Palya Art at Gallows Gallery, Gallows Gallery, Perth, WA
2009 Desert Colours, Hogarth Gallery, Sydney
2009 Centred Art, Rotterdam, Netherlands
2009 Desert Dreamings, Open Palm Court Gallery, New Delhi, India
2009 Nyirripi & Yuendumu Artists, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle, WA
2009 Yuru-Yururla: Womens Painting from Yuendumu, Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection, Virginia, USA
2009 ‘Tracks’ – Bookerlowe Gallery, Texas, USA
2008 Bush Tucker 08, Arereal Gallery, Sydney, NSW
2008 Warlukurlangu Artists, Established & Emerging Artists, Hogarth Galleries, Sydney, NSW
2008 Warlukurlangu Artists of Yuendumu, The Painted Door, Petaluma CA, USA
2008 Important Aboriginal Art, Michael Reid Fine Art, Sydney, NSW
2008 Aboriginal Art aus der Central und Western Desert, ArtKelch, Germany
2007 Stocking, Artereal, Sydney, NSW
2007 Australian Aboriginal Artists from the Central Desert, Jeffrey Moose Gallery, Seattle WA, USA
2007 Desert Mob, Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs, NT
2007 Southern Spirits, Seoul Millennium Hilton Hotel, Southern Exchange, South Korea
2007 Warlukurlangu – Aboriginal Art aus Yuendumu, ArtKelch, Freiburg, Germany
2007 Contemporary Masters of the Central Desert, SF Fine Art, Sydney, NSW
2007 Desert Dreamings: earth + water, Artitja Fine Art, Perth, WA
2007 Couples, painting partners from Yuendumu & Nyirrpi, Gadfly Gallery, Perth, WA
2007 Yuendumu & Kimberley – Twin Indigenous Show, United Gallery, Sydney, NSW
2007 Warlukurlangu Artists, Hogarth Gallery, Sydney, NSW
2007 Annual Women’s Show, Vivienne Anderson Gallery, Melbourne, VIC
2007 Opera House Show, Hogarth Gallery, Sydney, NSW
2007 Paperweight, Suzanne O’Connell Gallery, Brisbane, QLD
2006 Summery Survey, Hogarth Gallery, Sydney, NSW
2006 Guangzhou Art Fair, China
2006 Warlpiri Artists of Yuendumu, Japingka Gallery, WA
2006 Journey to Mina Mina, Gallery Gondwana, Sydney, NSw
2006 Sister’s Dreaming, Contemporary Aboriginal Art, Kwanhoon Gallery, Insadong, South Korea
2006 Warlpiri Artists of Yuendumu, Japingka Gallery, Perth, WA
2006 Warlukurlangu Artists – Recent Works, Mason Gallery, Darwin, NT
2006 Desert Mob, Aralauen Art & Cultural Centre, Alice Springs, NT
2006 Warlukurlangu Artists – New Works, Hogarth Gallery, Sydney, NSW
2006 Senior Women’s Show, Gadfly Gallery, Perth
2006 Recent Works, Yuendumu, Suzanne O’Connell Gallery, Brisbane, QLD
2006 Paintings from the Fire Country, Birrung Gallery, Sydney, NSW
2006 Gamarada Indigenous Scholarship Fund, NSW
2006 ‘Divas of the Desert’, Gallery Gondwana, Sydney, NSw
2006 Artists of Yuendumu, NT & Outback Centre, Sydney, NSW
2006 Artists of Yuendumu, Australia’s Outback Gallery, NT & Outback Centre, Darling Harbour,Sydney, NSW
2006 Diva’s of the Desert, Galery Gondwana, Alice Springs, NSW
2006 ‘Open Doors’, Aboriginal Art Museum, Utrecht
2005 ‘Land of Diversity’, Hogarth Gallery, Sydney
2005 ‘Warlukurlangu Group Show’, Beaver Gallery, Canberra, ACT
2005 ‘Desert Mob’, Araluen Art & Cultural Centre, Alice Springs, NT
2005 ‘Luminous’, Northern Editions, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT
2005 ‘Recent Works’, Short Street Gallery, Broome, WA
2005 ‘Divas’ of the Desert’, Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs, NT
2005 ‘Group Show’, Alison Kelly Gallery, Melbourne, VIC
2005 ‘Warlukurlangu Collection’, Araluen Galleries, Alice Springs, NT
2005 ‘Jukurrpa Wiri ‘Important Dreaming Stories’, Araluen Galleries, Alice Springs, NT
2005 ‘WAAA Collection’ Flinders Museum, Adelaide, SA
2005 ‘Masterpieces of Aboriginal Art, Collectors Exhibition’, Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne, VIC
2004 Hogarth Galleries, Paddington NSW
2004 ‘Recent Works from Yuendumu’, Hogarth Gallery, Sydney
2004 ‘Desert Mob’ Araluen Centre, Alice Springs
2004 ‘New Works from Yuendumu’, Bellas Gallery, Brisbane
2004 ‘Dreaming Stories’, Indigenart, Perth
2004 Kurruwarri Pipangka – Designs on Paper’ CDU Gallery, Charles Darwin University NT
2004 ‘Little Warlu, Big Stories, Hot Little paintings by Big artists of Yuendumu’, Australia’s NT & Outback Centre, Sydney
2004 Jeffrey Moose Gallery, Seattle, Washington, USA
2003 ‘Desert Mob’, Araluen Centre, Alice Springs
2003 ‘Kurruwarri Wirijarlu – Big Story’ Hogarth Gallery, Sydney
2003 Aboriginal Art, January Murphy Gallery, Brisbane
2003 ‘Yimi Pirrijirdi – Strong Stories’, Alison Kelly Gallery, Melbourne
2003 Black and White, Colour: seeing country in two ways, Counihan Gallery, Melbourne
2003 Warlukurlangu Artists, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne
2002 “Dreamings: Land and Ceremony”, Hogarth Gallery, Sydney
2002 Bellas Gallery, Brisbane
2002 Onshore Art Barwon Heads Victoria
2002 “The Warlukurlangu Collection”, Parliament House Canberra
2002 Indigenart Perth
2002 Jeffrey Moose Gallery, Seattle, Washington USA
2001 ‘Desert Mob’ Araluen Art Centre and Gallery Alice Springs
2000 “Marking the Paper”, Desart Gallery, Sydney
2000 ‘Wayuta’, The Desart Janganpa Gallery, Alice Springs
2000 Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
2000 “Desert Mob Show”, Araluen Centre for the Arts, Alice Springs
2000 Paintings and Prints, Northern Territory University, Darwin
2000 Hogarth Gallery, Sydney
2000 Kurawari, Desart Gallery, Sydney
2000 “Januarygku yinyi”, Carey Baptist Grammar School, Melbourne
2000 “Hot Press”, Beaver Galleries, Canberra
2000 Print exhibition, Bellas Gallery, Brisbane
2000 World Baptist Conference, Melbourne Exhibition Centre, Melbourne
2000 “L’art des Aborigenes d’Australie”, Marie d’ Allonnes, France
1999 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin
1999 “Mina Mina” show, Hogarth Gallery, Sydney
1999 Desert Mob Show, Araluen Centre, Alice Springs
1999 “L’art des Aborigenes d’Australie”, Theatre de Narbonnes France
1998 Desert Designs, W.A.
1998 Framed Gallery, Darwin
1998 Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
1998 Bellas Gallery, Brisbane
1997 Hogarth Gallery, Sydney
1997 Art Gallery NSW, Festival of the Dreaming, Sydney
1997 Hogarth Gallery, Sydney
1996 World Vision, Sydney
1996 Hogarth Gallery, Sydney
1995 INMA Foundation, Amsterdam
1995 Kloosterkazerne, Breda
1995 Cultureel Centrum Berchem, Antwerp
1995 Cleveland Centre for Contempoary Art, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A.
1994 Hogarth Gallery of Dreams, Sydney
1994 Hogarth Gallery, Sydney
1994 “Desertracks”, Westergasfabriek, Amsterdam
1994 Chicago Art Fair, Chicago, U.S.A
1994 Inter-American Art Gallery, Miami, Florida, U.S.A
1994 The Assembly Hall of the Territorial Parliament, Tahiti, French Polynesia
1994 Adelaide Town Hall, Adelaide (in conjunction with The Adelaide Festival)
1993 Alice Prize Exhibition, Araluen, Alice Springs
1993 CINAFE (Chicago International New Art Forms Exposition), U.S.A.
1993 Sutton Gallery, Melbourne
1993 ‘Jukurrpa, Desert Dreamings – a survey of central desert art 1971- 1993’, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
1993 Bellas Gallery, Brisbane
1993 ‘Aratjara’, Hayward Gallery, London
1993 ‘Dreaming the World’, St. Mungo’s Museum, Glasgow
1993 Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs
1993 Adelaide Town Hall, (in association with the Pacific Arts Symposium), Adelaide
1993 ‘Aratjara – Art Of The First Australians’, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein Westfalen, Dusseldorf, Germany
1992 Women’s Gallery, Melbourne
1992 Chapman Gallery, Canberra
1992 Hogarth Gallery, Sydney
1992 Alliance Francais, Canberra
1992 Manyuku, Melbourne
1992 Araluen, Alice Springs
1992 Dreamtime Gallery, Gold Coast
1992 The Haven Gallery, Melbourne
1992 The Long Gallery, Hobart
1991 Hogarth Gallery of Dreams, Sydney
1991 Albert Hall, Canberra
1991 Darwin Performing Arts Centre, Darwin
1991 Te Whare Taonga o Aotearoa National Art Gallery & Museum, New Zealand
1991 Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs
1991 Auckland City Art Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand
1991 Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs
1991 The Women’s Gallery, Melbourne
1990 I.U.N.C. (showing at Hilton Hotel), Perth
1990 ‘Women’s Exhibition’, The Women’s Gallery, Melbourne
1990 Hogarth Gallery of Dreams, Sydney
1990 F.O.E. Community Art Space, Melbourne
1990 ‘National Aboriginal Art Award’, Darwin
1990 Performing Arts Centre, Darwin
1990 South Australian Museum Shop, Adelaide Festival
1989 Hogarth Gallery of Dreams, Sydney
1989 F.O.E. Community Art Space, Melbourne
1989 Chesser Gallery, Adelaide
1989 F.O.E. Community Art Space, Melbourne
1989 Victor Harbour Art Show, South Australia
1988 F.O.E. Community Art Space, Melbourne
1988 Hilton Hotel (NaIdoc Week), Adelaide
1988 Dreamtime Gallery, Perth
1988 Caz Gallery, Los Angeles, U.S.A.
1988 Bellas Gallery, Brisbane
1988 F.O.E. Community Art Space, Melbourne
1988 Lewis-Wara Gallery, Seattle, U.S.A.
1987 Opera House Gallery, Sydney
1987 Chapman Gallery, Canberra
1987 Roar Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
1987 Blaxland Gallery, Sydney
1987 Achille Lauro, Perth
1986 R.S.A.S.A. Gallery, Adelaide
1986 Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs
1986 Editions Gallery, Perth
Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs

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Painting/s by Bessie Nakamarra Sims: