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.


Tutuma Tjapangati (Pintupi/Pitjantjatjara c. 1909–1987)

[Tutuma's] spontaneous compositions are a reflection of the direct way in which iconographic forms are applied onto the body or onto the earth for large ground paintings. Indeed, more than most of the other early Papunya paintings, Tutuma's work retains a palpable sense of immediacy and ritual purpose. (Philip Batty, 2011)

Tutuma was born at Wirrilinya, south-west of Lake Hopkins, where he lived until walking some 500 kilometres to Haasts Bluff in 1943, being drawn eastwards by stories of Europeans distributing food and water. He found Haasts Bluff noisy and unsettling at first but gradually adapted to settlement where he became a competent cameleer, using his team of camels to make extended visits to his homelands.

Tutuma moved to Papunya in 1960, where he was the most senior of the southern Pintupi artists. A pensioner, known as 'Old Tutuma', he was always eager to express his Tjukurrpa (Dreaming) in acrylic on composition board. The bold iconographic elements of his early works echo the way such designs are painted straight onto the body or the ground for men's ceremonies. In common with many other Pintupi people, Tutuma moved to Walungurru after its establishment in 1981. Here he continued to paint until his eyesight deteriorated in the mid 1980s.

EXHI015776
Tutuma Tjapangati 1977
Pintupi/Pitjantjatjara c.1909-87
Photo © Kevin Diflo

Related

  • EXHI015291
    Tutuma Tjapangati
    Pintupi/Pitjantjatjara c.1909-87
    One old man’s Dreaming 1971
    earth pigments and synthetic polymer paint on composition board
    63.0 x 44.4 cm
    Beverly and Anthony Knight, Melbourne
    © artists and their estates 2011, licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency Limited and Papunya Tula Artists Pty Ltd
  • EXHI015182
    Tutuma Tjapangati
    Pintupi/Pitjantjatjara c.1909-87
    Big Corroboree Dreaming 1971
    earth pigments and synthetic polymer paint on composition board
    96.8 x 58.0 cm
    National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
    Purchased, 1993
    © artists and their estates 2011, licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency Limited and Papunya Tula Artists Pty Ltd

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