2024 | Tjukurrpa Kanyila (Keep the Culture and Law Strong)

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Tjukurrpa

(Keep the culture and law strong)

Kanyila

Tjukurrpa Kanyila

(Keep the culture and law strong)

Presented by Aboriginal & Pacific Art gallery in association with Papunya Tjupi Arts, Papunya, Northern Territory.

Exhibition Dates: 15 May - 8 June, 2024

Dennis Nelson Tjakamarra, Watson Corby Tjungurrayi and Carbiene Mcdonald Tjangala all come from strong artistic lineages. This is not uncommon in Papunya, where 53 years ago the Western Desert painting movement began. One of the founding members of the resulting Papunya Tula Artists was renowned artist Johnny Warangkula Tjupurrula - Dennis Nelson’s father, and Watson Corby’s grandfather. Dennis and Watson both grew up watching their various family members paint and have each been painting since the 1990s.

Carbiene McDonald Tjangala is the grandson of Shorty Lungkata Tjungurrayi, also a founding member of Papunya Tula Artists, and son in law of Martha McDonald, a senior and renowned Papunya Tjupi artist. Carbiene however didn’t pick up a paintbrush himself until 2018. A year later he won the prestigious Hadley’s Landscape Prize.

All three men have in common an unwavering dedication to their work. While younger men float in and out of the men’s studio, Dennis, Watson and Carbiene can be found in the men’s studio most days. Dennis and Watson are regularly elected as board members, and all three are amongst the most senior male painters in Papunya. All three men have crafted their own unique style. Dennis’s complex layered dotting, Watson’s fine lines, and Carbiene’s luminescent squares. All these works play with our perception, in their refined techniques and sophisticated use of colour gradation.

Dennis Nelson Tjakamarra Kalipinypa #599-23 Synthetic Polymer on Linen 122 x 152 cm

Watson Corby Tjungarrayi

Kalipinypa Tjukurrpa #8-24

Synthetic Polymer on Linen

152 x 122 cm

Kalipinypa Tjukurrpa

The painting tells the story of the rain and hail making ceremony for the site of Kalipinypa. Ancestral forces are invoked to bring on a powerful storm with lightning, thunderclouds and rain sending a deluge to rejuvenate the earth, filling the rock holes, clay pans and creeks and creating new life and grown upon the land. Today the Nakamarra, Tjakamarra, Napurrula and Tjupurrula men and women are the custodians of this important Water Dreaming site and celebrate its stories in the ceremonies. Watson says that the lines represent the water travelling into the waterholes, as well as the rain and hail brought by the storm.

Carbiene McDonald Four Dreamings #539-23 Synthetic Polymer on Linen 152 x 152 cm

Four Dreamings

In this work Carbiene depicts four dreaming stories which he inherited from his father. These tjukurrpa are associated with a series of waterholes running between Docker River and Kata Tjuta. Specifically, it includes four important sites: Peterman Ranges, Docker River, Kalaya Murrpu (Blood’s Range) and Mulyayti near Kata Tjuta.

As a young man, Carbiene returned to these places and retraced the footsteps of his father. These memories stay with him vividly today.

Synthetic Polymer on Canvas

91 x 106 cm

Dennis Nelson Tjakamarra Kalipinypa #484-23

Kalipinypa

This painting depicts the Kapi Tjukurrpa (Water Dreaming) site of Kalipinypa, North-east of Kintore. Dennis talks of Kalipinypa as Paradise Country. He remembers a story of this site where two birds wander around for water. Underneath that water there is a snake making the water bubble. There is bush tucker all around. There are wild flowers, kapi tjukitji and water running.

The painting tells the story of an important rain making ceremony involving the rainmakers to invoke storms. Kalipinypa is a powerful storm that brings lightning, thunderclouds and rain to rejuvenate the earth, filling rock holes, clay pans and creeks. It has the power to create new life and growth upon the land. If present, the circles represent kapi tjukitji (rock holes) and the meandering lines depict water flowing throughout the country and between waterholes. Background dotting represents the rejuvenating effect the rain has on the land, bringing out the bush food plants and providing easy access to water.

Carbiene McDonald Four Dreamings #534-23 Synthetic Polymer on Linen 152 x 152 cm

Four Dreamings

In this work Carbiene depicts four dreaming stories which he inherited from his father. These tjukurrpa are associated with a series of waterholes running between Docker River and Kata Tjuta. Specifically, it includes four important sites: Peterman Ranges, Docker River, Kalaya Murrpu (Blood’s Range) and Mulyayti near Kata Tjuta.

As a young man, Carbiene returned to these places and retraced the footsteps of his father. These memories stay with him vividly today.

Watson Corby Wallaby dreaming at Tjunti #29-24 Synthetic Polymer on Linen 152 x 122 cm

Wallaby dreaming at Tjunti

This story was passed on to Watson by his father and grandfather. Tjunti is west of Nirrapi and is a wallaby dreaming place. The wallabies travel around Tjunti following the tracks that lead between the waterholes. There is a rock that marks the spot of the ancestral dreaming place of the wallaby. The Tjungarayi and Tjapaltjarri men are the custodians of this Tjukurrpa.

Four Dreamings #515-23

Synthetic Polymer on Linen

152 x 152 cm

Carbiene McDonald

Four Dreamings

In this work Carbiene depicts four dreaming stories which he inherited from his father. These tjukurrpa are associated with a series of waterholes running between Docker River and Kata Tjuta. Specifically, it includes four important sites: Peterman Ranges, Docker River, Kalaya Murrpu (Blood’s Range) and Mulyayti near Kata Tjuta.

As a young man, Carbiene returned to these places and retraced the footsteps of his father. These memories stay with him vividly today.

Watson Corby Tjungarrayi

Wallaby dreaming at Tjunti #549-23

Synthetic Polymer on Canvas 91 x 152 cm

Wallaby dreaming at Tjunti

This story was passed onto Watson by his father and grandfather. Tjunti is West of Nirrapi and is a wallaby dreaming place. The wallabies travel around Tjunti following the tracks that lead between the waterholes. There is a rock that marks the spot of the ancestral dreaming place of the wallaby. The Tjungarayi and Tjapaltjarri men are the custodians of this Tjukurrpa.

Dennis Nelson Tjakamarra Kalipinypa #65-24 Synthetic Polymer on Linen 91 x 122 cm

Kalipinypa

This painting depicts the Kapi Tjukurrpa (Water Dreaming) site of Kalipinypa, North-East of Kintore. Dennis talks of Kalipinypa as Paradise Country. He remembers a story of this site where two birds wander around for water. Underneath that water there is a snake making the water bubble. There is bush tucker all around. There are wild flowers, kapi tjukitji and water running.

The painting tells the story of an important rain making ceremony involving the rainmakers to invoke storms. Kalipinypa is a powerful storm that brings lightning, thunderclouds and rain to rejuvenate the earth, filling rock holes, clay pans and creeks. It has the power to create new life and growth upon the land. If present, the circles represent kapi tjukitji (rock holes) and the meandering lines depict the water flowing throughout the country and between waterholes. Background dotting represents the rejuvenating effect the rain has on the land, bringing out the bush food plants and providing easy access to the water.

DOB: 4/12/1961

Community: Papunya, NT

Carbiene McDonald was born in Papunya in 1961, son of Snowy McDonald. As a young man, Carbiene travelled back to his father’s homelands and inherited his Tjukurrpa (Dreaming). This Tjukurrpa is associated with a series of waterholes running between Docker River and Kata Tjuta. Specifically, it includes four important sites: Petermann Ranges, Docker River, Kalaya Murrpu (Blood’s Range) and Mulyayti near Kata Tjuta.

Carbiene’s work embodies the quality of innovation steeped within tradition, and his practice of filling the canvas with coloured squares of loose acrylic paint creates work of immense depth and sophistication. Having only taken up painting later in life, in 2018, his passion for painting coupled with his extreme dedication and enthusiasm has led him to quickly make a name for himself.

Winner of the prestigious Hadley’s Art Prize (2019), and a finalist in the Vincent Lingiari Art Award (2019), his work is held in the Art Gallery of NSW Collection, Charles Darwin University Collection and in significant private collections in Australia.

DOB: 6/8/1962

Language: Luritja

Community: Papunya: NT

Dennis Nelson Tjakamarra was born in Alice Springs in 1962, son of Johnny Warangkula Tjupurrula, one of the founders of the desert painting movement, and his second wife Gladys (Yawitji) Napanangka, who was among the first group of women at Papunya to paint for Papunya Tula Artists. Dennis remembers going “after school or smoko time” to watch the painters at work. He says his father taught him to paint: “Use brush - cut ‘im - he learn me. When I’m a little boy he sat me down in the gallery”.

Dennis’ paintings are strongly reminiscent of his famous father’s early works: “I carry on his style. I know.” Johnny also taught him his stories and took him to the sites: the Kalipinypa Kapi Tjukurrpa (Water Dreaming) with “lots of birds playing round after the rain”; the “Death Spirit [that] comes from underground in the middle of the desert” and Tjikari where the “Men Dreaming [are] still there now”. Dennis painted for Papunya Tula Artists in the early 1990s, then for Warumpi Arts before its closure in 2004, and is now painting at Papunya Tjupi Arts.

During the 1980s, Dennis illustrated a number of Pintupi-Luritja educational resources for the newly opened bilingual Papunya School. In early 2021, Papunya Tjupi ran a workshop where artists viewed and responded to the educational material they had created decades ago. Ever since the workshop, Dennis has been drawing again. His drawings are intricate and unique, and have sold well at exhibitions.

Dennis’ works are sought after and he has exhibited widely across Australia and internationally in Germany and the United States of America.

Watson Corby Tjungarrayi

DOB: 12/09/1973

Community: Papunya: NT

Watson Corby was born in Papunya in 1973, son of founding Papunya Tula painter David Corby Tjapaltjarri and grandson of Johnny Warangkula Tjupurrula, and he learned to paint by watching them and his mothers.

Watson often paints Kalipinypa Tjukurrpa (Dreaming), which was passed down to him from his Grandfather, and tells of an important rain making ceremony, with the power to create new life and growth upon the land and the resulting storms. He paints this story employing a drip technique onto canvas or linen laid horizontally using a variety of found and homemade paint applicators. The resulting abstract lines and expressive drips of paint create works of depth that draw the viewer in and a style very unique to Watson Corby. Watson occasionally paints the Tjunti Wallaby story, which was passed onto him by his father, telling of the wallaby dreaming place at Tjunti, west of Nyrippi. Watson, who is also the current Chairperson of Papunya Tjupi, has been instrumental in the recent Men’s Art and Cultural Revival at Papunya Tjupi Arts, encouraging and leading the younger male cohort of painters in the studio and taking them on country visits.

Finalist of the Macquarie Group Collection Prize (2016), his work is held in the Macquarie Group Collection.

Tjukurrpa Kanyila

(Keep the culture and law strong)

Presented by Aboriginal & Pacific Art in association with Papunya Tjupi Arts, Papunya, Northern Territory

15 May - 8 June, 2024

All images and text Copyright 2024 the artists and the community, Papunya Tjupi, Papunya, NT.

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