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George “Hairbrush” Tjungurrayi / Tingari (GH021)
150cm x 200cm Acrylic on CanvasView more from artist
150cm x 200cm Acrylic on Canvas
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Ochre / Kimberley artworks are shipped on canvas or linen, already stretched, ready to hang unless stated otherwise.
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George “Hairbrush” Tjungurrayi was born c.1947 near Kiwirrkurra in the Gibson Desert, Western Australia and relocated to Papunya with his older brother Willy Tjunguarrayi and others of his clan in the mid 1960’s. He and Willy commenced painting in Papunya in approximately 1976 for Papunya Tula Co-operative. George is one of the most admired and respected senior artists from the Western Desert. He was included in “the most collectable artists” by the publication Australian Art Collector, which confirms the high regard in which he is held by Galleries and Collectors.
George’s paintings, like those of his relatives, invariably depict the sacred sites located in his ancestral country. The Tingari cycle theme is representative of the journeys of his Tingari Ancestors which were created in the Dreamtime. An imposing man physically, there is a dramatic difference – almost a conflict – between his stature and the delicate nature of his works. George produces works with fine lines, sometimes perfectly straight in singular colour overlay on contrasting background and others featuring rectangular or circular images of the sacred sites visited by his Tingari ancestors.
A highly collectable artist who produces consistently aesthetically pleasing works.
• National Gallery of Australia
• Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney
• Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
• Groninger Museum, Groningen, The Netherlands
• National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
• Robert Holmes à Court Collection, Perth
• Supreme Court of the Northern Territory, Darwin
• Artbank, Sydney
• Musee des Arts d’Afrique et d’Oceanie
• Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs
The artist has painted one of the most significant themes of his Pintupi heritage, in bold linear patterning. Below is the Tingari story, collated from a huge amount of research over many years.
The Tingari Men were a group of ancestral elders who, in the Dreamtime (the Dawn of Creation) traveled over vast areas of the Western Desert country, performing rituals and creating or “opening up” the country. They were usually accompanied by recently-initiated young men to whom they provided instruction in the ritual and law of the region. The adventures of the Tingari groups are enshrined in numerous song-myth cycles which provide explanations for contemporary customs in Western Desert Aboriginal life. Deep knowledge of Tingari business is restricted to men possessing appropriate levels of seniority in Western Desert society, but many stories have “public versions” which do not disclose secret/sacred knowledge – that is to say, much of the pure Traditional information is known only to the Pintupi Elders, which is applicable to this artist.
In the Tingari heartland of the Gibson Desert, three major journey-lines can be discerned. One begins west of Jupiter Well and eventually runs due east, concluding south-east of Lake Mackay, another heads south-west from near Kintore for some 200 km, and then doubles back to end at Lake Macdonald; the third runs from south to north through Docker River and Kintore.
At the many sites that make up these songlines, groups of Tingari people held ceremonies, experienced adversity and had adventures, in the course of which they either created or became the physical features of the sites involved. In mythological terms, Tingari exploits often add to or modify features at pre-existing sites, or revive and extend more ancient local Dreamings. The oral narratives (songs) that describe these adventures stretch to thousands of verses, and provide countless topographical details that would assist the nomadic tribes to navigate and survive in the arid landscape.
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