Wonghonyon - Bush Tucker Dampers bears artist's name, title and Stuart Art Centre consignment number 12009 on a photocopy of the original Stuart Art Centre label on the reverse of the frame synthetic polymer powder paint on board 61 x 36cm
PROVENANCE: Painted at Papunya in May 1972 Painting number 9 in consignment 12 to the Stuart Art Centre, Alice Springs Private collection, Adelaide Ebes Collection, Melbourne
LITERATURE: Hank Ebes (ed.), Nangara: the australian aboriginal art exhibition from the Ebes collection, Melbourne: The Aboriginal Gallery of Dreamings, 1996, vol 1, p.42, cat. no.30; vol 2, cat. no.30 (illus.). Hank Ebes (ed.), The Australian Aboriginal Art Exhibition, Japan: The Yomiuri Shimbun, 2001, p.25 (illus.)., pp.108-109 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, p.354, Bardon's diagram (illus.).
EXHIBITED: Nangara: the australian aboriginal art exhibition from the Ebes collection, Stichting Sint-jan, Brugge, Belgium, March 9 - June 23, 1996, cat. no.30 The Australian Aboriginal Art Exhibition, Hokkaido Asahikawa Museum of Art, Asahikawa, Japan, April 13 May 27, 2001; Tochigi Prefectual Museum of Fine Arts, Utsunomiya, Japan, July 15 September 2, 2001; Iwaki City Art Museum, Iwaki, Japan, November 10 - December 16, 2001, cat. no.10 Dreamtime - Aboriginal Art from the Ebes Collection, Arken Museum of Modern Art, Ishoj, Copenhagen, Denmark, February 11 - August 13, 2006
The spelling Jambuluba Jungari for the artist's name by Geoff Bardon indicates that this is an early attempt at spelling his name, and also that it is an early painting by the artist. Geoff later used Tjumpulala Tjungurrayi as the spelling (Bardon and Bardon, 2004: 73), but Yumpululu is the more correct phonetic spelling that is used by researchers today. Since Yumpululu and his kinsmen and kinswomen knew it as an infrequently spoken name, they would not have been concerned so much as amused by the various attempts.
Yumpululu was an engaging character who often had a puzzled look which could instantly break into laughter. This is an interesting early painting, with the number of fires about the outer right-hand rim suggesting that the artist was recalling a time when people (depicted as sleeping by the central bar lines) had gathered at the site for ceremonies. The major plant food gathered by the women was as Geoff Bardon heard it, wankangyou, the Panicum known as "native millet". The seeds are exceedingly small, no bigger than pin-heads, but the plant grows in profusion in certain localities, and the women traditionally used a sweeping action to pluck off the prolific seeds and at the same time collect them in a piti (a coolamon or wooden dish). On other occasions, when ants had gathered the seeds about their nests, this meant that the substantial work of collecting had been done and the women simply scooped up handfuls from about the nests. These seeds were ground into a fine flour, mixed into a paste and cooked on a low-heat fire to make sweet tasting dampers (bread cakes).
Yumpululu has rendered these as the dominant forms in the painting, their internal sets of concentric circles suggesting the stylised way of depicting the dampers, but also hinting at the men's ceremonial objects associated with the ceremonies. In the horizontal form at the bottom of the painting Yumpululu has painted a set of concentric circles with four arcs about them a probable symbol indicating women gathered about a fire cooking the seed-food.
R. G. (Dick) Kimber
This painting is sold with the original Stuart Art Centre label
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