Tjukurrtjanu TjukurrtjanuTjukurrtjanu: Origins of Western Desert Art

NGV NGVNGV: 150 years Museum VictoriaMuseum Victoria Papanya Tula ArtistsPapanya Tula Artists

  • An NGV Touring Exhibition
  • 30 September 2011 – 12 February 2012
  • The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia,
  • Federation Square, Melbourne
  • 9 October 2012 – 20 January 2013
  • Musée du quai Branly, Paris

Tjukurrtjanu: Origins of Western Desert Art examines a watershed moment in the history of art when a painting practice emerged at Papunya in Central Australia. Tjukurrtjanu gives prominence to 200 of the first paintings produced at Papunya between 1971 and 1972 and also establishes the vital connection between the works of art and their sources in ephemeral designs made for use in ceremony.

A collaboration between the NGV and Museum Victoria.
In partnership with Papunya Tula Artists Pty Ltd.

This website contains the names, images and works of Indigenous people who have passed away, which may cause distress to some Indigenous people.

Indigenous people from Central Australia and the Western Desert are advised that this exhibition contains culturally sensitive works that may be considered harmful or inappropriate for viewing by women or uninitiated members of their communities. Care has been taken to respect cultural protocols and, following a comprehensive consultation process, these works will be exhibited separately for the duration of the exhibition and will not be illustrated in the exhibition catalogue or displayed on this website.

Please note that some records contain terms and annotations that reflect the period in which the item was recorded, and may be considered inappropriate today in some circumstances.

Long Jack Phillipus Tjakamarra (Pintupi/Luritja born c. 1932)

We started it, like a bushfire, this painting business, and it went every way: north, east, south, west, Papunya in the middle. (Long Jack Phillipus to Luke Scholes, 2010)

Long Jack Phillipus was born at Kalipinypa, a major Water Dreaming place, north-east of Walungurru, in his mother's country. When Long Jack was a teenager, he and his family came in to Haasts Bluff, where he worked as a timber cutter and stockman and was married.

In 1962 Long Jack moved to Papunya where he still lives, initially working as a gardener and groundsman. A councillor, working in the vicinity of the school, he was one of the founding members of the painting group in 1971 and quickly developed a relationship with the recently arrived school teacher Geoffrey Bardon. Along with Billy Stockman who was also a school yardman, he painted two smaller murals on the school walls, a Widows' Dreaming and a Wallaby Dreaming, before collaborating with Kaapa Tjampitjinpa and Billy Stockman and others on the painting of the large Honey Ant Mural.

Long Jack's work encompasses the Spinifex Wallaby, Kingfisher, Dingo, Possum and Emu Dreamings. A number of his early works on board depict decorated ceremonial participants and ritual objects perhaps occasioned by the heightened environment in the Men's Painting Room, which prompted the artists to demonstrate visually the strength of their culture and law.

In 1983 Long Jack won the Northern Territory Golden Jubilee Art Award. The following year, he won first prize in the Alice Springs Caltex Art Award and was ordained as a Lutheran pastor. He was chairman of Papunya Tula Artists in the early 1990s.

Long Jack Phillipus Tjakamarra
Pintupi/Luritja born c.1932
Photo © Allan Scott


  • EXHI015286
    Long Jack Phillipus Tjakamarra
    Pintupi/Luritja born c.1932
    Bush tucker story 1972
    synthetic polymer paint on composition board
    72.0 x 77.0 cm
    Hugo Le Roux Guthrie, Melbourne
    © artists and their estates 2011, licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency Limited and Papunya Tula Artists Pty Ltd
  • Ad100428
    Long Jack Phillipus Tjakamarra
    Pintupi/Luritja born c. 1932
    Emu Dreaming 1972
    synthetic polymer paint on composition board
    64.7 x 62.8 cm
    National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
    Purchased from Admission Funds, 1987
    © artists and their estates 2011, licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency Limited and Papunya Tula Artists

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