Meet the Artist

Tess Napaljarri Ross

Tess Napaljarri Ross

Tess_Napaljarri_Ross_800x630

Born

1949

Skin name

Napaljarri

Language

Warlpiri

Country

Yuendumu, NT

Tess Napaljarri Ross was born close to Yuendumu, on a cattle station East of Yuendumu. She was named Daisy. When she was a little girl her family moved to Yuendumu, an Aboriginal settlement 290 kms north-west of Alice Springs.

Shortly after moving to Yuendumu her father died and her mother later remarried. Her step father, Larry Jungarrayi Spencer who was one or the artists who painted the Yuendumu Doors, taught her the patterns and designs of Yarri Pirlangu, a place south of Yuendumu.

She attended the local Yuendumu School and then trained as a teacher assistant through Batchelor College in Darwin. After she finished her training she returned to Yuendumu and has been actively involved in the school Two-Way teaching program which is devoted to maintaining the indigenous Warlpiri culture and language in the community. Tess has also worked as a translator and helped to translate the Yuendumu Doors Book for IATSIS press.

She is married and has one daughter, Lizzie Ross with her first husband, Jack Jakamarra Ross. She is very involved with her large extended family and the community in various programs. She has worked with Birds of Australia setting up a bird sanctuary in New Haven, 80 kms north-east of Yuendumu.

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Tess is one of the earlier painters of Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation, an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre established in 1985 and located in Yuendumu. Tess first learnt art at school and when the Centre opened asked what she could paint. It was the Yarri Pirlangu patterns and designs which she still incorporates into her Jukurrpa stories today.

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