“We are very pumpana which means ‘lucky’. Where would be today if Tjanpi Desert Weavers hadn’t come along? Think about that, where would we be? Where would we have found the money to feed our kids? If we didn’t have this we would be a lot worse off. Tjanpi Desert Weavers has been a kind of life saver.”
Nyurpaya began making baskets in the late 1990s and has only recently started to work sculpturally using natural fibres. She is a highly skilled wood carver and brings this acuity of working in three dimensions to her fibre work. Her works are meticulously constructed and she is a highly perceptive artist who thinks deeply about what she makes. Most recently she was involved in making large-scale birds for an exhibition at Tandanya Gallery. Nyurpaya also paints through Tjala Arts.
Nyurpaya was born in (Pukatja) Ernabella SA in October 1940 and went to school there. She and her husband Kaika Burton were among the first group of people to relocate to Amata when it was established in 1960 and have been there ever since. Nyurpaya is a senior Law woman with an extraordinary knowledge of country. She is a much respected community leader and over the years has been a strong advocate for Anangu and for her community, a very active member of NPY Women’s Council, and a key spokesperson on a number of issues.