About Nelly Patterson
Nelly Nungarrayi Patterson is a Senior Anangu and Lore woman.
Born in the 1930’s, Nelly grew up with her parents in the outback of northern South Australia before whitefella or roads came to her homelands.
As a little girl she used to walk from Pipalyatjara (her father’s country) to Amata and then on to Omatja near Kata Tjuta (her mother’s country). Her Grandfather was the custodian at Omatja. The journey took several months over hundreds of kilometres.
Nelly is one of the last senior law women of the Anangu people and has been campaigning for the preservation of sacred law and culture since the 1950s. Through her work, Nelly teaches about Tjukurpa – the ancient lore of the desert passed down from Anangu Elders through song, stories, ceremony and dancing.
Nelly has been painting since 1986. She paints Malu and Seven Sisters’ Tjukurpa, and is also a custodian of the dreaming story of Atila, Uluru and Kata Tjuta (Mount Connor, Ayers Rock and The Olgas). Nelly’s artwork has been widely exhibited, and she paints with both Walkatjara Arts and Maruku at Uluru. Ninbella Gallery hosted a solo exhibition New Way Dreaming in 2018 and she has taken part in numerous exhibitions with Maruku Arts.
Nelly currently lives in Aged Care at Mutitjulu community.