• Artwork:Ininti Seed Necklace
  • Artist:Dadu Gorey Nungarrayi
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Ininti Seed Necklaceby Dadu Gorey Nungarrayi

This hand crafted necklace is made from Ininti seeds collected by the Warlpiri women from central Australia. The women gather the seeds from the Ininti, a native tree which grows in sandy areas close to creeks and dry river beds. The seeds come in many different hues (deep reds, oranges and creams). Holes are made in the Ininti seeds by poking with a hot wire.

Necklaces are culturally significant in womens and mens ceremonies.

  • Artist:Dadu Gorey Nungarrayi
  • Title:Ininti Seed Necklace
  • ID:DG0903075
  • Medium:Beaded Jewellery
  • Size:63 cm
  • Region:Yuendumu, Central Australia


I (Sabine Haider, Director of Central Art) have been working with Dadu Gorey Nungarrayi since 2008. I first met Dadu when I found her waiting out the front of the Central Art Gallery doors. She asked me what my name was, as she was looking for a lady with red hair. Apparently some of the ladies at Yuendumu had told her to find me so that she could sell her paintings to me. I immediately liked her from that first moment and still to this day love it when she visits me, not always to sell her artworks or jewellery. Dadu is such a gentle and caring woman and I just love listening to her Dreaming stories or stories of her childhood. Listening to her speak about her culture is such a wondrous experience, that she almost transports me through time whilst I am listening.

Dadu comes from Yuendumu Community, approximately three hours from Alice Springs in Central Australia. She was born in 1955 and has always lived and continues to live in her traditional community of Yuendumu.
She began painting in 1990 for Warlukurlangu – Artists of Yuendumu, which is an art centre based in Yuendumu. She has been a part of several group exhibitions of Yuendumu Artists. Her primary Dreamings include the Possum, Goanna, Eagle and Kangaroo and she is known from using her traditional Aboriginal iconography in her depictions.

Dadu participated in a group exhibition in 1990 with the Darwin Performing Arts Centre and her works have appeared in the companies exhibitions in Perth, Melbourne, Hobart and the Gold Coast.

Her artwork is bright, with pink and purple often featured. She uses fine multiple dotting lines to cover the canvas and displays traditional Aboriginal symbols to assist in telling her Dreaming stories. Her works are more traditional depictions but provide a modern touch with bright and multiple colours used. The artworks commissioned by Central Art – Aboriginal Art Store are prime examples of her style with traditional iconography, bright colours, and fine dotting covering the entire canvas.

Her women’s Dreaming paintings depict the Warlpiri women gathering together with digging sticks and coolamon’s in preparation for ceremonies. An intimate knowledge of country is required to participate in these ceremonies, which is passed down through generations. During ceremonial times women would apply markings to their upper bodies to represent, song lines and dance cycles are performed to re-enact the journeys the ancestors made. The Janganpa Jukurrpa, or Possum Dreaming, is also a significant Dreaming for Dadu, in her artworks she used traditional Aboriginal iconography to represent the possum and the Tjapaltjarri man who spends his moon lit evenings hunting for the possum.

Not only a painter, Dadu is also known for her skill in bead work and traditional beaded jewellery. She uses Inititi Seeds, which grow in the desert, these seeds are only available for several months of the year and Dadu spends a great deal of time searching and collecting them whilst they are available. Once she has collected hundreds and even thousands of the tiny seeds, she then has to use a red-hot piece of wire to pierce the centre in order to thread wool or string through to create her “art on a string”. The Ininti seeds come in a variety of colours, such as, bright red, maroon, yellow, orange and even fawn. These seeds and jewellery were also used during traditional women’s ceremonies and dances.

In 2009 Central Art commissioned Dadu to make a collection of Ininti Seed Necklaces, which sold at a rapid rate and were clearly well received by customers. These necklaces took 4-6 weeks to make. Most of the pieces were over 1 metre in length; this length is common so that the necklace can be wrapped around the neck multiple times.

Dadu visits Alice Springs regularly and when I first met her she was completing a written and spoken English course at Batchelor (an Indigenous Education Service) in Alice Springs. Not only studying and painting, Dadu is also the full time carer of her adult daughter. She is a multi-skilled lady who is interested and passionate about her Aboriginal heritage as well as bridging the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Her paintings and jewellery have always sold very well through Central Art. She is a known artist in Alice Springs through her work with Warlukurlangu Artists and Central Art. If you are after a piece of Western Desert art which uses traditional iconography and Aboriginal symbols – Dadu’s work is worth considering.

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