Jennifer Mintiyi Connelly (Ward)

Papulankutja Artists

Jennifer was born at Mulga Park, a cattle station just over the border from the APY Lands in the Northern Territory. She has been painting for a long time. Her refined and expressive application of paint often appears as a marvel of melting colours and tones. Her striking craftsmanship and use of symbolism tells stories of strong women (Seven Sisters), the land, the desert and dreamtime.

Jennifer lives and paints in the remote community of Kalka in the APY Lands South Australia. As well as Papulankutja she has painted at Jameson and now Kalka where she has settled. She is now married to a Ngaanyatjarra man from Patjarr area.

Major Work: In 2016 Jennifer created a tjanpi (grass) female sculptural figure – one of the Seven Sisters of the Tjukurpa (ancestral creation stories) – for the extraordinary multi-faceted National Museum of Australia Songlines exhibition that was on display at the NMA in Canberra from September 2017 to February 2018. The sculptures can see online as actual objects and have also been digitised as characters in a video.

The Tjanpi Desert Weavers created these sculptures with artists from Papulankutja, in the Blackstone Ranges between the Western and Great Victoria deserts. During a two-week camp at Kuru Ala, a remote Seven Sisters site in Western Australia, 14 tjanpi weavers wove the sisters into life. They then moved to a campsite just outside Papulankutja to finish the tjanpi sisters. Each figure was made by two artists. For many of the figures, a senior artist paired with a younger emerging artist so that the act of creation was also one of passing on skills to a future generation of tjanpi artists.