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Contemporary art

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art

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Kangaroo and Shield People Dreaming at Lake Mackay



Timmy Payungka Tjapangati


circa 1940 - 07 May 2000

Language group

Pintupi, Western Desert region


This painting depicts two Dreamings and Tjapangati's own homeland along the fringes of Lake MacKay in Western Australia. These two, which are celebrated in a corroboree, are a Kangaroo Dreaming, utilised in the Tingari cycle, and the story of the travelling Kuditchi, or Shield People. The full details of the story are secret but the artist did say that in the Kudutchi corroboree the men sing while the women dance. The cat's-cradle-like pattern around the edge of the painting represents rain travelling from hill to hill. The tracks of the kangaroo travelling from site to site are self-evident. The large pale area in the central part of the picture represents Lake Mackay. The roundels in that area are trees which grow in the lake. The golden-coloured patches are sandhills. The connected roundels and adjoining straight lines represent both soakages and campsites of the mythical Shield People in their travels.

Australian Art Department, AGNSW, 2000


Place where the work was made

Papunya Northern Territory Australia



Media category


Materials used

synthetic polymer paint on canvas


187.0 x 155.0 x 3.5 cm stretcher

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Gift of the Art Gallery Society of New South Wales 1995


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Timmy Payungka Tjapangati

Artist profile

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 6 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 8 publications


Edmund Capon AM, OBE, Steven Miller, Tony Tuckson, James Scougall, Mollie Gowing, Harry Messel, Craig Brush, Ronald Fine, Alison Fine, Gordon Davies, Rosalind Davies, Christopher Hodges, Helen Eager, Rosemary Gow, Sandra Phillips, Daphne Wallace and Ken Watson, Gamarada, Sydney, 1996, 70.

Hetti Perkins, Education Kit - Papunya Tula: genesis and genius, 'Styles - iconographic and minimal', pg. 10-11, Sydney, 2000, 10 (colour illus.).

Vivien Johnson and Tim Johnson, The Painted Dream, 1991, 20.

Vivien Johnson, Copyrites - Aboriginal Art in the Age of Reproductive Technologies, Sydney, 1996, 43 (colour illus.), 54.

Vivien Johnson, Painted Dreams, 'Collecting Western Desert Art - a personal view', pg. 8-13, Sydney, 1995, 8, 16, 17 (colour illus.), 46. plate no. 2

Hetti Perkins, Look: 1953-2003 celebrating 50 years, 'When the everyday becomes extraordinary: AGS help acceptance of young urban indigenous artists', pg. 51-53, Sydney, May 2003, 52, 53 (colour illus.).

Hetti Perkins and Hannah Fink (Editors), Papunya Tula: genesis and genius, Sydney, 2000, 86 (colour illus.), 286-287. no catalogue number

Wayne Tunnicliffe and Deborah Edwards, Look, ‘New Australia’, pg. 24-27, Sydney, May 2012, 27.