I’m a big fan of Mitjili Napurrula’s work. When I first saw them at an art gallery in Fremantle, Western Australia, I immediately thought they reminded me of a famous Western artist. At that time I couldn’t put my finger on it, but now I know it was Henri Matisse. And here’s why the main motif that Mitjili Napurrula is so well-known for reminded me so much of Matisse:
Matisse “Oak Leaves” motif:
Mitjili Napurrula “Bush Medicine Leaves” motif:
But, while Matisse only used his Oak Leaves motif sometimes, Mitjili Napurrula has taken the simple form of her Bush Medicine Leaves and developed it to the nth degree, coming up with seemingly endless variations of it, from the very simple to huge, complex structures.
Here is a video showing Mitjili’s creative process. What an amazing artist! I love the beauty in the deceptive simplicity of her paintings. (Note: this is only one of many videos of Mitjili at work, courtesy of DesertArtCentre, who support and sponsor many Australian Aboriginal Artists. If you wish to watch more Aboriginal artists at work, click on the link to go to their YouTube channel).