Untitled (Wala Wala Rockhole) bears artist's name, dimensions and Papunya Tula Artists catalogue number GT950678 on the reverse synthetic polymer paint on linen 152 x 122cm
PROVENANCE: Painted in 1995 Papunya Tula Artists, Alice Springs Superannuation Fund of William Nuttall and Annette Reeves
EXHIBITED: 12th Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin, August 1995
Untitled (Wala Wala Rockhole), 1995, is a fine example of the optical sensation created by repeated concentric lines characteristic of Pintupi paintings associated with the esoteric teachings of the Tingari ancestors who endowed people with the civilising structures of the law. Modern paintings such as this relate directly to traditional forms of desert art; in this case the finely fluted lines of western desert shields. Just as the decoration of a shield adds aesthetic and ancestral dimensions that renders the weapon more efficacious, a corresponding effect is sought in paintings today.
George Tjungurrayi began to paint for the public domain at Papunya in 1976 but he worked intermittently. Once he had settled at Kintore in the 1980s he commenced painting archetypal Pintupi matrices of circles joined by lines. In the 1990s Tjungurrayi dispensed with traditional iconographic elements altogether in favour of the rhythm of tight, parallel lines and forms that allude to the topography of the landscape.
The site depicted in this painting has personal resonance for the artist as it is his birthplace, Wala Wala rockhole, northwest of the Pintupi community at Kiwirrkurra. Wala Wala is a ceremonial site associated with the Tingari.
Untitled (Wala Wala Rockhole), 1995, follows the compositional template of Ronnie Tjampitjinpa's Two Women Dreaming, 1990, in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia (illustrated in Wally Caruana, Aboriginal Art, World of Art Series, London and New York: Thames and Hudson, 2003, p.120, pl.100).
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