About Nyakul Dawson
Nyakul Dawson (c. 1935 – 12 January 2007) was an Australian Aboriginal tribal elder and artist. He was one of the earliest Ngaanyatjarra artists to achieve success using Western-style painting techniques. Examples of his work are held in the National Gallery of Victoria, and the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Dawson began painting in 2002, aged in his 60s. The year before, the women of Irrunytju had opened an art centre in the community, called Irrunytju Arts. His wife, Anmanari, had already been painting at the centre for several months, and Dawson joined her along with several of the community's other senior men. Dawson's first wife, Alkawari, also became a successful artist at Irrunytju. Dawson's paintings depict creation stories from the Dreamtime and concepts from his spirituality. They illustrate his family's Dreaming and how their ancestors created the land. His birthplace is on the Dreaming track (or "songline") of the Wati Ngiṉṯaka (Goanna Man), the path travelled by one of his ancestors from the Dreamtime whose totem is the perentie lizard. The scenes in his paintings are from the places he travelled as a boy with his family in the central Australian desert. Dawson was a member of the Executive Committee of Desart for several years until November 2006. In June 2006, he travelled to Paris for the opening of the Musée du quai Branly. He was there with the Australia Council for the Arts as a representative for Aboriginal Australian art.