Rosie Nangala Fleming was born around 1928, at the time when many Warlpiri and other Central and Western Desert Peoples were living a traditional nomadic life. With her family she travelled around the country in the traditional way, visiting sacred sites and learning about her ancestors, her creation stories and her country. She and her late husband came from their ancestral country to live in Yuendumu when it began as a settlement sometime in the late 1940’s. As a young woman, Rosie Nangala began working for Mrs Fleming, a Baptist missionary who assisted her in establishing a Warlpiri Women’s museum at Yuendumu in the late 1970’s, as a keeping place for ceremonial objects and a centre for women to meet. Rosie became president of the museum and administered it for many years.
Rosie Nangala made artifacts, seed necklaces and mats for a number of years and when Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation, an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre, was established in 1985, Rosie was one of the first women to paint with acrylic on canvas. She paints her mother’s and her father’s Jukurrpa stories, stories which relate directly to her land, its features and animals. These stories were passed down to her by her father and mother and their parents before them for millennia. Her Dreamings are ngapa (water) from her mother’s side; and warlukurlangu (fire) and Yankirri (emu) from her father’s side.
Every week day Rosie comes to the art centre, sits with her friends and paints. She still likes to go hunting when she can.