Songlines Aboriginal Art: Papunya Paintings, Page 2 ~


Please be Patient, Image Loading:Australian Aboriginal painting from Papunya by Warlimpiringa Tjapaltjarri at Songlines Aboriginal Art


DBP 1 5. Travels of the Tingari Mob, Warlimpiringa Tjapaltjarri, , 48" x 48" (122 x 122 cms), Kintore, 2004 For Sale

This painting depicts designs associated with Wilinkarra (Lake MacKay), a vast, generally dry, expanse of salt flat. In mythological times a large group of Tingari men started from this site and traveled in a large circle eventually returning to Lake MacKay. The Tingari are a mob of mythical ancestors who traveled over vast stretches of country, performing rituals and creating and shaping particular sites. The strong rhythmic patterning of this work, supported by the stark black and white palate, imparts a vivid impression of heat rising in a sun-baked desert landscape, and of light reflecting off of the vast dry salt lake at Wilinkarra, with mirage-like optical effects. This painting is a wonderful example of the geometric abstraction that has so captivated Pintupi painters in recent years.

Warlimpiringa Tjapaltjarri is one of the more vigorous Pintupi painters active today. He was the last of the artists to walk in from the desert in the 1980’s, having lived a traditional pre-contact lifestyle until that time. His work has the strength and immediacy of the now deceased founding artists, as despite being a much younger man, his life experience so closely echoes their own. He is the older brother of Walala Tjapaltjarri, the two of them have been from time to time referred to as “The Lost Tribe." Warlimpiringa's first one man exhibition was bought in its entirety by the National Gallery of Victoria in 1988.

Contemporary Aboriginal paintings can be read as multivalent texts. Their dazzling designs are a form of visual shorthand, which condenses a multiplicity of meanings into a seemingly finite two-dimensional picture plane. Each painting is a unique amalgam of symbol and patterning denoting the highlights of a particular Dreaming narrative, stories which contain progressively esoteric levels of content. Also implied are the design’s more immediate associations: with the distinctive features of a particular landscape, with the performance of related songs and dances. Above all Aboriginal paintings are documents defining the relationships between people and country.

While you and I might relate to the painting above on a level of pure aesthetic pleasure, finding it redolent of natural forces at work in the desert landscape—the movement of water and wind, the power of heat and light, all of which are undoubtedly part of the painter’s intended effect—it is at the same time larded with deeper cultural significance: ritual information revealed to young men during the initiation process known as "Maliera." Geometric abstractions by Pintupi artists such as Warlimpiringa are derived from the optically charged designs inscribed on wooden and stone sacred objects, which are believed to have been left behind by the ancestral heroes of the Dreaming, demonstrating the potency of ancestral power, and symbolizing the ancestral role in forming and shaping the Pintupi's stark and majestic desert homeland, evoking the echoes of these actions still extant in the world today.



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