Thomas Tamayinya Tjapaltjarri: untitled

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Thomas Tamayinya Tjapaltjarri: untitled


Untitled polymer paint on linen painting by Thomas Tamayinya Tjapaltjarri.

Donated by Mr Chris Simon, Yanda Aboriginal Art, Alice Springs, NT.

  • Polymer paint on linen
  • 1225 x 2135 mm
  • 2001 

Thomas Tjapaltjarri’s paintings are informed by the Dreamings of the Tingari cycle. These are told through song and ceremony to explain the journeys of Tingari ancestors as they travelled immense distances, shaping landforms and establishing law during the time of creation. Many of the stories relate to an area from east to west, referred to as Kakarrara and Wilurrara, and they include sacred sites around Marruwa in the Lake MacKay region. It was in this area that Thomas Tjapaltjarri spent his early nomadic years. In 1984, his life changed dramatically when, along with eight other Pintupi, he ‘came in’ from the desert to Kiwirrkura WA and made contact with nonindigenous society for the first time. They are often referred to as referred to as ‘the group of nine’. The central focus of the painting is a series of four roundels – groupings of concentric circles – joined by a flat band of black and surrounded by rhythmic patterns of curving lines. In Pintupi systems of iconography symbols can represent multiple meanings and it is the artist who determines their interpretation within the parameters of his or her Dreamings. Groups of concentric circles often relate to sacred sites, ancestor resting places, waterholes and soakages. When they are joined, this can convey the movement of ancestors along ‘journey lines’. The repetition of undulating lines creates an optical effect and a sense of rolling movement, suggesting a vast landscape full of vitality and spiritual force.

From material supplied by Dr Lisa Chandler.

Wondervision Postcard 11

  1. Draw three shapes (circles, squares, rectangles or similar) across the diagonal of a piece of A4 paper. Use Thomas’ technique of lines moving around the shapes to complete your artwork technique. You could also add some dots to complete this. Use the example below as a model. Use colours that are common in Western Desert Art. You could use oil crayons or pastels, coloured pens or markers or acrylic paints to do this.
    Example of the shapes drawn by artists.
  2. Make an optical illusion called a thaumatrope. Download the instructions (PDF 770KB). The spinning top on the same file is another form of illusion.
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