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Contemporary art

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art

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Tingari Story



Willy Tjungurrayi


circa 1936 -

Language group

Pintupi, Western Desert region


This work depicts the travels of the Tingari, a group of ancestor beings, who travelled over vast stretches of the country performing rituals and creating and shaping sites. The Tingari Men were usually accompanied by novices and their travels and adventures are enshrined in a number of song cycles. These mythologies form part of the teachings of post-initiate youths today as well as providing explanations for contemporary customs. The Tingari ceremonies are of a secret nature and no further information was given by the artist. Willy Tjungurrayi has included a vast array of sites in this work, probably around his country in the region of Lake McDonald. In Mythological times, a large group of Tingari Men made camp at Lake McDonald during their journeying from the Peterman Range towards Kintore.

Australian Art Department, AGNSW, 1993


Place where the work was made

Walungurru (Kintore) Northern Territory Australia



Media category


Materials used

synthetic polymer paint on linen canvas


242.5 x 362.5 cm x 4 cm stretcher

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Mollie Gowing Acquisition Fund for Contemporary Aboriginal Art 1993


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Willy Tjungurrayi

Works in the collection



Where the work was made
Walungurru (Kintore)

Shown in 5 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 12 publications


Crispin Gutteridge, Deutscher and Hackett fine art auction: Melbourne 28 November 2012, Catalogue entry for Lot 132 Willy Tjungurrayi 'Tingari painting', pg. 170-171, Melbourne, 2012, 170.

Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Australian Collection: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art', pg. 208-241, Sydney, 1999, 227 (colour illus.).

Vivien Johnson, Lives of the Papunya Tula Artists, 'Willy Tjungurrayi', pg. 150-152, Northern Territory, 2008, 151 (colour illus.).

John Kean, Colliding worlds: first contact in the Western Desert 1932-1984, 'A big canvas: mobilising Pintupi painting', pg. 46-52, Melbourne, 2006, 49, 50 (colour illus.), 56.

Ewen McDonald, AGNSW Collections, 'From Colonialism to late Modernism', pg. 7-106, Sydney, 1994, 102 (colour illus.), 103.

Margo Neale, Yiribana: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collection, Sydney, 1994, 70, 71 (colour illus.), 138, 139. plate no. 33

Barry Pearce, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Earth and paradise', pg. 283-284, Sydney, 2000, 283 (colour illus.), 290 (colour illus.), 302.

Hetti Perkins and Ken Watson, A material thing - objects from the collection, Sydney, 1999.

Hetti Perkins and Hannah Fink (Editors), Papunya Tula: genesis and genius, Sydney, 2000, 96-97 (colour illus.), 288. no catalogue number

Ursula Prunster, Aspects of Australian art, Sydney, 2000, (illus.). card no. 12: Fred Williams 'You Yangs landscape' 1963

Vaughan Rees, Art-i-facts: Book Two, an exploration of ideas in drawing, Sydney, 1998, 9 (colour illus.).

Nadia Wheatley, Australians all: a history of growing up from the ice age to the apology, 'The law of the land', pg. 10-31, Crows Nest, 2013, 12 (colour illus.).