Marlene Young Nungurrayi is a Pintupi woman born in 1971 at Papunya. During her childhood the family moved across many of the communities of the Central and Western Desert. They moved from Papunya to Warburton, Patjarr, Wiluna, Leonora and Docker River in Western Australia before moving back to Kintore. Marlene’s father was Tommy Lowry Tjapaltjarri (1940-1987) whose traditional country was Patjarr, and who was one of the original Papunya Tula shareholders group. Tommy Lowry was the older brother of Doctor George Tjapaltjarri, who became the adopted father for Marlene Young Nungurrayi when her father died.
Marlene’s mother is Janie Ward Nakamarra (b.1946) from Kulkutja on the Northern Territory side near Tjukurla. Marlene Young Nungurrayi is also related by marriage to artists Katarra Butler Napaltjarri, Kim Butler Napurrula and Yinarupa Gibson Nangala. These and other family artists provided a lineage of skilled painters, who gave Marlene Young Nungurrayi a fine background in painting skills and processes.
Marlene Young Nungurrayi began her own painting career in early 2000, focusing on the Women’s Tingari narratives from her Mother’s country Kalkurr in the Western Desert. “There are no roads there – just desert country.” Marlene’s Dreamings include body paint designs and other aspects associated with Minyma Tjukurrpa – the women’s Creation stories. Her paintings depict the Tingari journey path of Kungka Kutjara, the travelling Ancestor women, and their travels to the site of Munni Munni, to the south-east of Kintore. Marlene says: “My mother told me the Tjukurrpa stories – the Dreamtime. These are the Women’s Ceremonies I paint.”
Marlene Young Nungurrayi was married to the late Adrian Young Tjupurrula, who was also a painter, and the family lived at Tjukurla community, just over the Northern Territory border in Western Australia. Marlene has one daughter as well as nieces and nephews, and has grandchildren in Warnan and Tjukurla. Marlene Young Nungurrayi’s works have been exhibited in galleries across Australia. Aboriginal art status – Mid career artist.