Suzanne O’Connell has sent along some photos of the new Nor Wompi solo show at her Brisbane gallery. I had a preview a month ago while in town, and was struck then by the drama and vigor of these works, which include paintings on a much larger scale than I’d ever seen by Wompi before.
Wompi and Eubena Nampitjin were close friends when they both lived outside of Balgo at the Kunnawarritji Community outstation. Nowadays, Eubena has relocated to Balgo, but Wompi continues her desert peregrinations, moving between Kunnawarritji, Kiwirrkurra, Punmu in the Percival Lakes Country, and Liparu. Her periodic returns to Balgo are somewhat legendary reunions with Eubena and the other aunties, inucluding Ningie and BaiBai, that are frequently compared to schoolgirl sleepovers.
Wompi shares Eubena’s palette, but her compositional style is much more fluid and she only rarely, in my experience, depends on the style of dotted encrustations that mark the work of painters who reside in Balgo more often than she herself does. The lyrical quality this imparts to her work is obvious in these photographs.