Elizabeth Napangardi Lechleitner
Aboriginal Warlpiri woman
Elizabeth Napangardi Lechleitner was born in 1973 in Alice Springs and she is one of seven children. She spent most of her time at Haasts Bluff, an outstation of Town Bore and visited Yuendumu on a regular basis. Elizabeth now lives in Yuendumu with her husband and children. She is a descendant of a long line of Aboriginal artists. Her father Dick Japanangka Lechleitner was born in Coniston and grew up with Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri and his brother Tim Leura Tjapaltjarri, both of whom have had a huge impact on the art world through their association with Papunya Tula Artists. Her father's sister is Andrea Nungarrayi Martin who also paints for Warlukurlangu Artists. Her paternal grandparents are Topsy Nampijinpa Stockman and Dinny Tjampijinpa Nolan, both original Papunya Tula Artists. She is also related to Albert Namitjira. Elizabeth recalls growing up watching these artists painting and listening to the stories they told as they worked away. Through this exposure to different techniques Elizabeth has learnt to incorporate different aspects from each style into her paintings, using this creative combination to blend traditional motifs with her own ideas of modern design. Elizabeth recreates the Dreaming stories of her ancestors which include the Honey Ant Dreaming, (from her Father’s side) and Emu Dreaming and Water Dreaming (from her Grandmother’s side) in her own colourful combinations. Whilst staying true to the Dreaming stories of her ancestors and her personal Jukurrpa of the honey ant, Elizabeth stretches the traditional boundaries with vivid colour combinations and techniques. She is not afraid to explore new territory and enjoys the challenges put before her.
This painting depicts the Honey Ant Dreaming. This Dreaming story has special significance for Warlpiri people living in Yuendumu because the story passes right through the Yuendumu community. The honey ant ancestors made passages and chambers underground as they travelled, which created the soakages that remain today. 'Yarrampi' (honey ants) are a prized delicacy, considered well worth the enormous effort it takes to dig them out of the ground. Honey ant nests can be located by looking for honey ants that are walking around on the ground and following them back to the entrance of their nest.