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Most often explored in Doreen’s works are the motifs of her everyday modern Aboriginal community life; the animals hunted and plants gathered for bush tucker, the cars and aeroplanes used to travel to the cities and remote communities she regularly moves between, and depictions of the Country itself. 

Collectively this imagery, depicted with Doreen’s trademark wild palettes, painterly brushstrokes, and stark compositions, builds a layered representation of her Country. Doreen’s intimately known ngurra (home Country, camp) is viewed from multiple spatial perspectives, and in stylistic modes ranging from pure abstraction to images incorporating realist and traditional elements.

Doreen’s ngurra encompasses the Country between Western Desert communities and towns; Warralong, Strelley, Marble Bar, Port Hedland, and Jigalong, her birthplace. People identify with their ngurra in terms of specific rights and responsibilities, and the possession of intimate knowledge of the physical and cultural properties of one’s Country. Painting ngurra, and in so doing sharing the Jukurrpa (Dreaming) stories and physical characteristics of that place, has today become an important means of cultural maintenance.

Categories: Martumili Artists

Name: Doreen Chapman

Language: Manyjilyjarra


Doreen Chapman was born at Jigalong Mission in the early 1970’s, though she soon moved with her family to newly Aboriginal owned Strelley Station. In Doreen’s youth, she continued to travel between remote Pilbara communities including Warralong, Punmu and Marble Bar with her mother, senior Martumili Artist May Wokka Chapman. Today Doreen primarily lives in Warralong community, and paints between art centres Spinifex Hill Studios and Martumili Artists.

Doreen first learned to paint alongside her mother, beginning her artistic career with Martumili Artists in March 2009 when she and the other women of Punmu painted a large collaborative artwork to raise funds for the community. Doreen is now an established artist in her own right, known for her loose, uninhibited painting style. As a deaf woman, painting is an important means of communication and expression for Doreen.

© the artist / art centre