Untitled (Ancestral Hunter) bears artist's name on the reverse synthetic polymer paint on canvas board 56 x 46cm
PROVENANCE: Painted circa 1977 Collected in Alice Springs in 1978 Private collection
Tim Leura is renowned for the autobiographical nature of much of his work, and one can read this painting as a type of self-portrait. It depicts the great ancestral hunter of the Anmatyerr-Arrernte people on what is now Napperby Station, where Tjapaltjarri was born. The hunter appears armed with a number of spears, a spearthrower and a boomerang. Leura was a master of creating atmospheric effects through the use of washes of dotting and stippling that he regularly used to mask and reveal graphic elements within a painting. This work features the interplay of such layers to subsume the figures of the hunter and the spearthrower into the ground of the painting, with the effect that the linear elements stand out in sharp contrast.
The work relates to a number of paintings by Leura that honour his father and grandfather to express the long historical relationship between his family and their ancestral lands. See Grandfather's Spirit Dreaming Place, 1978, in Bardon, G. and J. Bardon, Papunya, A Place Made After the Story: The Beginnings of the Western Desert Painting Movement, Melbourne: The Miegunyah Press, 2004, painting number 188, p.263, and again in Sayers, A., S. Engledow and W. Caruana, Open Air: Portraits in the landscape, Canberra: National Portrait Gallery, 2008, p.17, under the title Father/Son/Grandfather Dreaming; and two untitled works in the collection of the Flinders University Art Museum illustrated in Maughan, J. and J. Zimmer (eds.), Dot and Circle: A retrospective survey of the Aboriginal acrylic paintings of Central Australia, Melbourne: Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, 1986, pls.23 and 24, pp.90 and 92 respectively, and in Mellor, D. and V. Megaw (eds.), Twenty-Five Years and Beyond: Papunya Tula Painting, Adelaide: Flinders University Press, 1999, pl.52, p.41, and pl.67, p.47.