Untitled (Secret Cave Site of Mitukatjirri) bears artist's name, dimensions and Papunya Tula Artists catalogue number TT960364 on the reverse synthetic polymer paint on linen 153 x 183cm
PROVENANCE: Painted in 1996 Papunya Tula Artists, Alice Springs Superannuation Fund of William Nuttall and Annette Reeves
Cf. Other works in the Ilyingaungau series span the last decade of the artist's life: the earliest major works on the theme are Straightening spears at Ilyingaungau, 1990, in the collection of the Art Gallery of South Australia, and Mitukatjarri and Tjikari Men's Spear Fight at Ilyingaungau, 1990, in the collection of the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory, Darwin, (see Hetti Perkins and Hannah Fink (eds.), Papunya Tula: Genesis and Genius, Sydney: Art Gallery of New South Wales in association with Papunya Tula Artists, 2000, pp.114-5 and pp.116-7, respectively). For a late work in the series in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia, see Straightening Spears at Ilyingaungau, 2000, in B. Kennedy, et al, Developing the collection: Acquisitions 20012004, Canberra: National Gallery of Australia, 2004, p.43.
In 1990 Turkey Tolson commenced a series of paintings about straightening spears at a site called Ilyingaungau, southeast of the Pintupi community of Kintore, near the border between the Northern Territory and Western Australia. The ancestral narrative that forms the conceptual basis for this and related works, concerns a group of men who are making spears in preparation for a battle with another group at the Water Dreaming site of Tjikari, to the north.
The paintings are characterised by densely layered horizontal bands of dotting that create an atmospheric effect of heat rising from the fires in which the spears are straightened, which in turn alludes to the landscape where the ancestral events occur. In works such as this Tolson created a rhythmic, undulating pictorial surface that evokes a sense of mystery that accords with Pintupi artists' approach to paintings related to the highly esoteric knowledge of the Tingari ancestors. Tolson creates a visual shimmer that reflects the powers of the ancestral creator beings latent in the landscape, to be summoned up during ceremonies.
This painting is sold with accompanying Papunya Tula Artists documentation.