We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.





Maxie Tjampitjinpa


circa 1945 – 1997

Language group: Warlpiri, Central Desert region

No image
  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Papunya Northern Territory Australia
    Cultural origin
    Warlpiri, Central Desert region
    Media category
    Materials used
    acrylic on polyester canvas
    184.0 x 256.0 cm
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Gift of Christopher Hodges and Helen Eager 2018. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Estate of Maxie Tjampitjinpa. Licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency Ltd
    Artist information
    Maxie Tjampitjinpa

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Maxie Tjampitjinpa was born in Ikuntji (Hasst Bluff) in the Northern Territory and moved to the government established settlement of Papunya in the 1960’s. In the 1980s he was taught to paint by Mick Tjakamarra, who was a founding member of Papunya Tula Artists.

    This painting depicts the great bush fire that was ignited by Lungkata, the blue-tongued lizard man. Lungkata was resting at the site of Warlugulong waiting for his two sons who were following behind him. The sons had speared a kangaroo, but they cooked and ate it all, breaking customary lore of sharing food in the appropriate manner. Lungkata sensed what had happened and in fury he blew on a fire stick until it was glowing and touched a bush with it. The bush exploded and created angry flames that flickered across country like a lizard’s tongue. The two sons couldn’t escape the angry flames and became subject to a fiery death. Tjampitjinpa illustrates the intense and vibrant fire-field. Flaming bushes are burnt to white ash on the red ground, alongside black, charred remnants of flora. A painting full of movement and colour that tells a morbid story of punishment.

  • Places

    Where the work was made


Other works by Maxie Tjampitjinpa