Willie Tjungurrayi – Tingari Dreaming

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Willie Tjungurrayi – Tingari Dreaming


One of the most sought after painters of the Western Desert, Willy Tjungurrayi is a senior Pintupi man, entitled by his ancestry and communal position to paint the sacred and secret Tingari cycle. He has been acknowledged as one of the great colourists of contemporary Aboriginal painting.

Willy is the middle one of three brothers; Yala Yala Gibbs (founding member of the Papunya art movement and senior custodian of secret / sacred men’s business) was the eldest and George Ward Tjungurrayi the youngest. They were all sons of Pulpalpulpalnga Tjapaltjarri but had different mothers.

Willy Tjungurrayi was born around 1932 at Patjantja, south-west of Lake Mackay in the Northern Territory. He came into Haasts Bluff in 1956 with other Pintupi people, and in 1959 Willy was trucked across to Papunya with most of the other Aboriginal residents due to problems with Haasts Bluff’s water supply. Willy began painting for Papunya Tula Artists in 1976. By the 1980’s, Willy was recognised as a senior Pintupi painter, and he joined the movement of return to the Pintupi homelands. He lived in Walunggurru (Kintore) until 2003 and now splits his time between Alice Springs and Walungurru.

Stories from the Tingari Dreaming song cycle, and the land around Haasts Bluff, Wilkinkarra (Lake Mackay) and Kaakuratintja (Lake MacDonald), are Willy Tjungarrayi’s two great linked themes. For some subjects Willy paints dozens of dotted Roundels (concentric circles), linked by parallel lines, the spaces between them filled with bright, flat primary and mixed colours, a depiction of the travels and the stopping places of the Tingari Men, an image of rhythmic repetition of the songs associated with the Tjukurpa (Creation era or Dreaming).

In this painting, Tjungarrayi has featured hundreds of endless wavy lines in an ochre monochrome shimmer across the canvas, depicting the fierce hailstorm that killed the ancestral Tingari Men in the Dreamtime.

Willy Tjungarrayis’s work is highly sought after and has been acquired for many major private and public collections.

This painting was created in May 2008.


Aboriginal Art Museum, The Netherlands.

Artbank, Sydney.

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.

Flinders University Art Museum, Adelaide.

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.

Parliament House Art Collection, Canberra.

The Holmes a Courte Collection, Perth.

The Kelton Foundation, Santa Monica, USA.


Tingari Cycle


Willy Tjungarrayi


123 x 62cm