Jessie Nungarrayi Bartlett
Jessie Nungarrayi Bartlett is a Pintupi/Warlpiri woman from Kiwirrkurra/Lake MacKay (Wilkinkarra) in Western Australia.
Jessie was bought up on remote outstations around Kintore (Warlungurru) west of Alice Springs, before moving to Alice Springs at the age of 8 for schooling and to learn to speak, read and write English. Jessie currently resides in Alice Springs for employment, however she continues to maintain and practice her cultural activities and responsibilities.
Jessie was bought up around well-known artists, Turkey Tolson, Uta Uta Tjangala, Ronnie Tjampitjinpa, Mick Namararai Tjapaltjarri, Johnny Yungut Tjupurrula (grandfathers brother) and Pinta Pinta (her grandmothers, brother) who were part of the emerging Western Desert art movement. Jessie witnessed and was influenced by the great works of these artists and it was these early leaders that gave her a rare insight into the cultural perspectives of Pintupi people.
Mitjili Napanangka Gibson (Jessie’s grandmother) was also a well-known artist and actor who played a main role in the movie Samson and Delilah’. Mitjili was the key influence to Jessie to paint about her family’s traditional stories, life and the memories she has of growing up. Her grandmother told her that Jukurrpa is continuous and is our life stories and dreams, and that we should paint them.
Jessie’s art includes traditional stories of the western desert, as well as representations of her continuing practice of culture and connection to an ancient landscape. Jessie’s paintings are multi-layered and sometimes feature various stories on the one canvass.
Jessie began painting in 2015 and is currently building an impressive body of work, whilst balancing her full-time employment at the Aboriginal Interpreter Service (AIS) in Alice Springs, interpreting in Warlpiri and raising her two young children with her Arrernte partner, Joel Perrurle Liddle.