Mary Napangardi Gallagher was born in Napperby, a homestead 120 km from Papunya. When she was a young adult she moved with her family to Yuendumu. She met and married her husband in Yuendumu and later moved to Nyirripi to bring up her five children Ben, Duncan, Richard, Eldy and Rea, and several grandchildren. Mary and her grown-up children still lives in Nyirripi, a remote Aboriginal community 160 km north-west of Yuendumu. Mary has been painting with Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation, an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre located in Yuendumu, since 2006. Yuendumu is also a remote Aboriginal community located 290 km north-west of Alice Springs in the NT of Australia. The art centre staff regularly visit Nyirripi to collect finished work and drop off canvas, paint and brushes for the artists. Mary paints her father’s Jukurrpa, Dreamings which relate to Pikilyi Jukurrpa (Vaughan Springs) a large and important waterhole; and Janmarda Jukurrpa (Bush Onion Dreaming). Mary remembers playing in this area as a child, while collecting bush tucker with her family. The Jukurrpa (dreaming) at Napperby belongs to all Napangardi, Napanangka, Japangardi and Japanangka and has been passed down for millennia. When Mary is not painting she likes to go hunting with her family for goanna and bush tucker.
The country associated with this Jukurrpa is Mina Mina, a place far to the west of Yuendumu, which is significant to Napangardi/Napanangka women and Japangardi/Japanangka men. All of them are the custodians of the Jukurrpa that created the area. The Jukurrpa story tells of the journey of a group of women of all ages who travelled to the east gathering food, collecƟng ‘ngalyipi’ (snake vine [Tinospora smilacina]) and performing ceremonies as they travelled. The women began their journey at Mina Mina where ‘karlangu’ (digging sƟcks) emerged from the ground. Taking these implements the women travelled east creaƟng Janyinki and other sites. Their journey took them far to the east beyond the boundaries of Warlpiri country. The ‘ngalyipi’ vine grows up the trunks and limbs of the ‘kurrkara’ (desert oak [Allocasuarina decaisneana]) trees. ‘Ngalyipi’ is a sacred vine to Napangardi and Napanangka women that has many uses. It can be used as a ceremonial wrap, as a strap to carry ‘parrajas’ (wooden bowls) that are laden with bush tucker and as a tourniquet for headaches.