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George Ward Tjungurrayi

(Australia circa 1955 – )

Language group
Pintupi, Western Desert region
Tingari men at Kulkuta
Place of origin
PapunyaNorthern TerritoryAustralia
Media category
Materials used
synthetic polymer paint on linen canvas

182.4 x 152.0 cm stretcher

Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Purchased 2004
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

George Ward Tjungurrayi is now a prominent Papunya Tula artist and the painting 'Tingari Men at Kulkuta' 2003 was exhibited in the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award held in Darwin in August 2003. Recent paintings by Tjungurrayi reflect the trend towards spectacular flamboyant compositions. George Ward Tjungurrayi paints in his own adaptation of the Tingari style. Deceptively delicate lines of loosely-joined dots create networks or webs over the entire surface of the canvas. This gives his paintings a distinct energy that contributes to the dynamism inherent in the composition. Multi-layered representations of country such as this painting reflect the central concerns of the Papunya Tula artists.

Vivien Johnson in 'Aboriginal Artists of the Western Desert: A Biographical Dictionary' states:

"George Ward Tjungurrayi was born in the bush south-east of Kiwirrkura on the Kulkuta side. Trucked into Papunya in the '60s by Jeremy Long's Welfare Branch patrols, he lived at Warburton, Wiluna and Jigalong before returning to Pintupi country and the newly established settlement of Kintore across the NT border. Though he observed the work of the painting company in Kintore, it was not until the mid-80s when he moved deeper into Pintupi territory at Kiwirrkura that he began to paint for Papunya Tula Artists. He paints the stories of his country - Tingari stories including Snake and Kuningka (Native Cat) Dreamings in the Waralunga/Kulkuta area south-east of Kiwirrkura."

Papunya Tula Artists biographical data states:

"George Ward was born near the site of Lararra, east of Tjukurla in Western Australia c.1955. His first contact with Europeans was made through one of the Welfare patrols led by Jeremy Long and Nosepeg Tjupurrula at a rockhole south of Kiwirrkura. After Travelling in to Papunya he worked as both a fencer as well as a butcher in the Papunya Kitchen. George's father was also the father of Yala Yala Gibbs Tjungurrayi and Willy Tjungurrayi and although they had different mothers he considers them very close brothers."

© Australian Art Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2004

Exhibition history (2)

20th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Museum and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory, Darwin, 16 Aug 2003–07 Dec 2003

Living Black (2007-08), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 20 Dec 2007–12 Nov 2008