Designs Associated with the Tingari Men at Kulkutta synthetic polymer paint on linen 153 x 182cm (60 1/4 x 71 5/8in).
PROVENANCE: Painted at Kintore in 1987 Papunya Tula Artists, Alice Springs (stock #WT870353) Private collection
The Tingari theme has been consistently depicted in the art of the Western Desert since the early years of the movement. These paintings simultaneously relate the story of the Tingari ancestors, the iconography of the country where they travel and ceremonial bodypaint designs. Due to the 'restricted' nature of the Tingari story, stylistic guidelines for depicting this theme were extremely tight, particularly in the early years, to ensure that the 'inside' meaning was not divulged.
Willy Tjungurrayi began painting for Papunya Tula Artists in 1976 and was amongst the first to depict the Tingari theme in a large scale format in the late 1970s. A monumental example from 1986 in the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales is illustrated in Hetti Perkins and Hannah Fink, Papunya Tula: Genesis and Genius, Sydney: Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2000, pp.96-97. Designs Associated with the Tingari Men at Kalkutta was painted in the following year and marks a transition for the artist from the more traditional Tingari design across the entire surface of the canvas to a more minimal use of the interlocking circles through the middle of the work, surrounded by undulating and rhythmic lines above and below. This development precedes the artist's entirely 'linear works' of a more restricted palette which he began producing in 2000.
This painting is sold with an accompanying Papunya Tula Artists certificate that reads in part: 'This painting depicts designs associated with the site of Kulkutta, to the south of the Kintore community. In mythological times a large group of Tingari men travelled to this site. While camped here they all perished...Generally the Tingari are a group of mythical characters of the Dreaming, who travelled over vast stretches of the country, performing rituals and creating and shaping particular sites...'.