Vanessa was born in 1968 at Ntaria (Hermannsburg), a mission established by German Lutheran missionaries at the end of the 19th century. Vanessa’s grandmother’s brother is Albert Namatjira and she is the niece of award winning artist Ivy Pareroultja’s. Ivy remembers nursing Vanessa and her brother Reinhold Inkamala (also painter at Iltja Ntjarra) in Hermannsburg.
Vanessa currently lives in Alice Springs and paints in the watercolour tradition. She paints the landscape of her ancestors, which is also the country she belongs to.
In her late 20s Vanessa married Fabien, an Eastern Arrernte man, and moved to Santa Teresa, some 80 km South-West of Alice Springs. Though Vanessa was already a skilled artist, she learnt and adopted a new artistic style specific to Santa Teresa, in which she paints spiritual women. The spiritual women who are the subjects of Vanessa’s work are guardians of the land and remain invisible most of the time. Often, they look after a network of waterholes alongside the riverbed. If intruders come stealing some of the country resources such as bush tucker or water, the spiritual women will come out and the offenders will disappear forever.
2016 Cicada Press print workshop with Tony Albert, UNSW, Sydney
2017 Parrtjima, Festival of Light, Alice Springs
2021 Pmara Nurnaka, Yia Nurnaka: Our Country, Our Stories, Bett Gallery, Hobart TAS
2021 Arrkurla nakala kurunga lyaata-ntama (Before and Now), South Australian Museum, Adelaide SA
2021 Kutja Malla Manttara – Collecting (Bush foods) in cloths, Raft Artspace
2020 Homeless on my Homeland, NIRIN 22nd Biennale of Sydney, Sydney, NSW
2020 Particulate Matter: A fossil fuelled future?, The Cross Arts Project
2019 Tjina Nurna-ka, Pmarra Nurn-kanha, Itla Itla Nurn-kanha (Our family, our country, our legacy), Flinders University Art Museum, Adelaide SA
2019 The National, AGNSW, Sydney
2019 Pmarra Nurna-Kananhala untha-lapp-urma (Walking through country), Hazelhurst Art centre, Sydney, NSW.
2019 Tjina Nurna-ka, Pmarra Nurn-kanha, Itla Itla Nurn-kanha (Our family, our country, our legacy), Art Gallery of SA (AGSA) Adelaide , SA
2018 Desert Mob, Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs
2017 What if this photograph is by Albert Namatjira?, Art Gallery of SA, Adelaide SA
2017 Cicada Press Collection, Tarnanthi, AGSA
2016 UNALIENABLE, Sullivan + Strumpf Gallery, Sydney, NSW
2016 Abducted!, Alcaston Gallery, VIC
- 2016 University of Technology (UTS), Sydney, NSW
- 2016 National Museum Australia (NMA), Canberra, ACT
- 2018 Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA), SA
- 2019 Art Gallery of NSW (AGNSW), Sydney, NSW
- 2018 Queensland Art Gallery, Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA), Brisbane, QLD
- 2019 Flinders University Art Museum (FUMA), Adelaide SA