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Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri / Ngarlu Love Story, 1994

58cm x 63cm, Etching on paper, Limited Edition 43/50

SKU: CPT43-50

$2,950.00 $2,650.00

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SKU: CPT43-50 Category: Brand: . Artist:

Ngarlu Love Story, 1994
Signed Clifford Possum and dated (lower right) and bears title and edition number 43/50 (lower left)
Printed by the Australian Print Workshop, Melbourne in 1994

Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, AO
(c.1937 – 2002)

Australia’s Most Celebrated Aboriginal Artist

One of the founding fathers of the Papunya Tula Art Movement, this Anmatyerre artist remains the most celebrated artist in the history of Aboriginal Art and was the first Papunya Tula artist to be given a Retrospective, which began in October 2003 at the Art Gallery of South Australia and was on tour throughout 2004 and ended in 2005. Featured in numerous Aboriginal art books published to date, Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri is recognised as a Master of colour, composition and symbolic narration of a unique ancient culture that his work and the Art of his contemporaries helped to preserve.

When asked why he became an Artist, he answered
 “That Dreaming been all the time. From our early days, before European people came up. That Dreaming carry on. Old people carry on this law, business, schooling for the young people. Grandfather and grandmother, uncle and aunty, mummy and father, all that, they been carry on this, teach ’em all the young boys and girls. They been using the dancing boards, spear, boomerang all painted. And they been using them on body different times.  Kids, I see them all the time, painted. All the young fellas they go hunting and the old people there, they do sand painting. They put down all the story, same like I do on canvas. All the young fella they bring ’em back kangaroo. Same all the ladies, they been get all the bush fruit, might be bush onion, plum, might be honey ants, might be yala, all the kungkas (women) bring them back. Because everybody there all ready waiting. Everybody painted. They been using ochres all the colours from the rock. People use them to paint up. I use paint and canvas that’s not from us, from European people. Business time we don’t use paints the way I use them, no we use them from rock, teach ’em all the young fellas.”


This artwork tells of a young Tjungurrayi man who fell in love with a Napangati woman, however she was the wrong skin group and was not allowed to marry him. The Tjungurrayi man returned to his campsite to perform love magic. He created a painting in the sand and cut his hair. He began to spin his hair into an unbroken length of string and then sang a love song to the woman. Throwing the spindle towards her, and with its long length of spun hair, he drew her to his campsite The tribal elders then recognised the Tjungurrayi love-magic as being too strong and they approved the marriage as a result. The iconography in this story depicts the man, shown as the U-shape, with the spindle and its long hair-string, together with the footprints of the couple.

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