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.


Water Dreaming

Johnny Warangkula Tjupurrula and Walter Tjampitjinpa were custodians of the Water Dreaming and of the important site of Kalipinypa, where Winpa the Lightning Boss sang up a huge storm and created a series of waterholes, which now mark his songline. Both artists are best known for their paintings of the Storm Dreaming at Kalipinypa, producing many variations of Kalipinypa in 1971–1972, the time of an unusual season of flooding rains and its ensuing regeneration of plant life in the Papunya area. This season of abundance caused the song cycles of the Water Dreaming performed in ritual to resonate in the imagination of many Papunya artists.

Whereas Walter created graphic representations of the cluster of designs that signify water embellished with dots, Warangkula characteristically laid down dots over a framework of symbolic lines and motifs associated withKalipinypa and also worked up his surfaces with tiers of irregular, impulsive marks. Warangula established an analogy between the dotted field, traditionally associated with ritual decoration, and the depiction of vegetation that sprang up in response to rain. The use of dots to describe vegetation was a metaphor that would sustain him throughout his artistic career.

Related images

EXHI015537
Johnny Warangkula Tjupurrula
Pintupi/Luritja c.1925-2001
Water Dreaming at Kalipinypa 1972
synthetic polymer paint on composition board
80.0 x 75.0 cm
John and Barbara Wilkerson, New York, USA
© artists and their estates 2011, licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency Limited and Papunya Tula Artists Pty Ltd
EXHI015167
Walter Tjampitjinpa
Pintupi c.1912-81
Water Dreaming 1972
synthetic polymer paint on composition board
78.0 x 31.0 cm
The Gabrielle Pizzi Collection, Melbourne
© artists and their estates 2011, licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency Limited and Papunya Tula Artists Pty Ltd
Ad100398
Johnny Warangkula Tjupurrula
Pintupi/Luritja c.1925–2001
A bush tucker story 1972
synthetic polymer paint on composition board
91.4 x 66.2 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased through The Art Foundation of Victoria with the assistance of North Broken Hill Ltd, Fellow, 1987
(O.48-1987)
© artists and their estates 2011, licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency Limited and Papunya Tula Artists
Ad101013
Walter Tjampitjinpa
Pintupi c.1912–81
Water Dreaming at Kalipinypa 1971
enamel paint on composition board
61.6 x 73.2 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased through The Art Foundation of Victoria with the assistance of Alcoa of Australia Limited, Governor, 1993
(O.21–1993)
© artists and their estates 2011, licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency Limited and Papunya Tula Artists

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