Ursula Napangardi Hudson was born in 1962 in Yuendumu, a remote Aboriginal community located 290 km north-west of Alice Springs in the NT of Australia. Ursula attended the local school. When she finished she did odd jobs before marrying Mika Hudson, a pastor in Nyirripi, where she has lived ever since. Nyirripi is located a further 150 kms west-south west of Yuendumu. She has three children and six grandchildren.
Ursula has been painting with Walukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation, an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre located in Yuendumu, since 1993. The Art Centre makes regular visits to Nyirripi to drop off canvas, paint and brushes for the artists and to collect finished artwork. When Ursula was young she would watch her Aunty, Daisy Napanangka Nelson (Circa 1930 – 2002), paint. “She taught us to paint. I wanted to paint, to teach my kids when they grew up. Tell them the stories, tell the bush tucker stories when they go hunting.”
Ursula paints her father’s Yuparli Jukurrpa (Bush Banana Dreaming) and Pikilyi Jukurrpa (Vaughan Springs Dreaming), which her Aunty taught her and her mother’s Ngapa Jukurrpa (Water Dreaming). These dreamings have been passed down the generations for millennia and relate directly to the land, its features and the plants and animals that inhabit it. Ursula uses an unrestricted palette to develop a modern interpretation of her traditional culture.
On weekends, when Ursula is not painting she likes to go hunting for honey ants and goanna.
Pikilyi Jukurrpa (Vaughan Springs Dreaming)
Pikilyi is a large and important waterhole and natural spring near Mount Doreen station. Pikilyi Jukurrpa (Vaughan Springs Dreaming) tells of the home of two rainbow serpents, ancestral heroes who lived together as man and wife. The woman ‘rainbow serpent’ was of the Napanangka skin group, the man was a Japangardi. This was a taboo relationship contrary to Warlpiri religious law. Women of the Napanangka and Napangardi subsection sat by the two serpents, picking lice off them. For this service, the two serpents allowed the women to take water from the springs at Pikilyi. This was because the serpents were the ‘kirda’, or ceremonial owners, for that country. The spirits of these two rainbow serpents are still at Pikilyi today. This Dreamings belongs to the women and men of the Japanangka/Napanangka and Japangardi/Napangardi skin groups.