Born circa 1945, Ruby is a Warlpiri woman who was born at Yuendumu in the Western
Desert of Central Australia. She now lives with her husband Paddy at Ti Tree, 200km North
of Alice Springs. Ruby is the younger sister of Helen White Napaltjarri who is also an artist
and paints using the same technique of very fine individual dots in their paintings.
When questioned about the context of her paintings, Ruby seems reluctant to give too much
away, which is not uncommon for many of the artists we represent. When asked who taught
her to paint like this she responded “it was my singing, my song”. Quite often the information
or story contained within a painting is for sharing with initiates only. In traditional aboriginal
culture, each person passes through a series of initiations in their lifetime, with each stage
meaning greater access to knowledge of dreaming stories and ceremonies. Hence, even an
uninitiated aboriginal person will not be told ‘the full story’. What we do know about Ruby’s
work is that the consistent theme is ‘Meeting Place’ and presents an aerial depiction of
waking paths or ‘tracking lines’ through her country.
One can assume that these paths are not necessarily physical in nature but denote a
dreaming song or ‘story’ that runs through the land and acts as a boundary and or walking
route that is recognised as a significant part of the landscape from which indigenous people
have subsisted for countless years. Where these lines intersect is called ‘Meeting Place’ in
English and may represent a special place or a sacred site reserved for Ceremony..
Showing the single artwork