;Johnny Warangkula Tjupurrula (circa 1925-2001) Kalipinypa
Lot 20Ω
Johnny Warangkula Tjupurrula (circa 1925-2001) Kalipinypa
Sold for AU$ 42,000 (US$ 39,259) inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
Johnny Warangkula Tjupurrula (circa 1925-2001)
bears artist's name and Papunya Tula Artists catalogue number JW730950 on the reverse
synthetic polymer paint on board
74 x 54cm (29 1/8 x 21 1/4in).


    Painted in September 1973
    Papunya Tula Artists, Alice Springs
    Purchased by Valerie Windsor in August 1975
    Gifted to the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children), United Kingdom in 2011 to raise proceeds on their behalf

    Cf. For images of a number of early paintings of the Water Dreaming sites by Johnny Warangkula, see Geoffrey Bardon and James Bardon, Papunya, A Place Made After the Story: The Beginnings of the Western Desert Painting Movement, Melbourne: The Miegunyah Press, 2004, pp.56-168. See also Water theft at Tjikari, 1972, painting 196, p.268; Old Man's 'Mala' (Wallaby) Dreaming (Version 3), 1973, painting 204, p.273; Bush Tucker Dreaming with Running Water (Version 1), 1972, painting 308, p.357; and Water Dreaming at Kalipimpinpa [sic] with Bush Tucker, 1972, painting 418, p.448.

    Johnny Warangkula is renowned for his paintings of Water Dreamings that are associated with two major sites, Tjikari and Kalipinypa, of which he was a senior custodian. The importance of these permanent freshwater sites cannot be underestimated in an arid environment, nor are their ancestral connections. Warangkula has depicted two ancestral Rain or Freshwater Men as U-shapes either side of the waterhole–the roundel at very centre of the painting around which the composition revolves. Radiating from the waterhole are meandering lines of sandhills.

    The footprints of the ancestors and the tracks of water birds that appear across the landscape intuit the choreography for related ceremonies. But they may also indicate a hunt for large avian prey. In the upper right hand quadrant is a detail that may be the key to an interpretation of the painting. It consists of the representation of two fires as white circles with smoke rising; beside these are the tracks of the birds that are about to be cooked, presumably emus judging by the extended footprint of the claw and foreleg beside one of the fires. The entire surface of the work is covered in fields of dots that reflect the abundant vegetation that grows at Kalipinypa due to the presence of freshwater. As with most of Warangkula's paintings, this work resonates with his sense of wonderment and appreciation of the beauty and bounty of the site.

    This painting is sold with an accompanying Papunya Tula Artists card with annotated diagram and notes by Peter Fannin

    Wally Caruana

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