Fred Tjakamarra (born circa 1926) Sam Tjampitjin (born circa 1930) and Tjumpo Tjapanangka (circa 1929-2007)
Men's Law Painting, The Great Sandy Desert, W.A., 1997 bears artist's name and Warlayirti Artists catalogue number 529/97 T1, T2, T3 (respectively) on the reverse synthetic polymer paint on linen 180 x 120cm (70 7/8 x 47 1/4in).
PROVENANCE: Purchased from Warlayirti Artists, Wirrimanu (Balgo Hills), Western Australia in July 1997 The Laverty Collection, Sydney
EXHIBITED: Paintings from Remote Communities: Indigenous Australian Art from the Laverty Collection, Sydney, Newcastle Region Art Gallery, Newcastle, 5 July - 31 August 2008
LITERATURE: John McDonald, 'Art and Authenticity' in 'Collections' the International Magazine of Art & Culture, 1998, vol. 3, no. 1, p.62 (illus.) Colin Laverty and Elizabeth Laverty et al., Beyond Sacred: Recent Painting from Australia's Remote Aboriginal Communities - the collection of Colin and Elizabeth Laverty, Melbourne: Hardie Grant Books, 2008, p.142 (illus.)
In Western Desert societies, the making of a ceremonial ground painting or mosaic requires a number of artists to collaborate for reasons of size and the time taken to prepare the work. More importantly, the artists must be in specific kin relationships to each other: those with patrilineally inherited rights of ownership of the ceremonial Dreaming and its associated designs, who are members of one moiety, collaborate with those who possess matrilineally inherited or custodial rights in the same Dreaming and designs, and who belong to the opposite moiety. The practice of creating collaborative paintings has extended into the public domain of art, from the early collective works at Papunya in the 1970s and those from Yuendumu in the 1980s, and continues to this day in several communities. At Balgo, the history of collaborative painting beyond ceremonial requirements dates to 1982 when paintings were made for Catholic Holy Week services, such as Last journey of Jesus by Greg Mosquito and other Balgo men (Crumlin, R. and A. Knight, Aboriginal Art and Spirituality, Melbourne: Dove Publications, 1995, plate 29, pp.56-7). The seminal exhibition Art from the Great Sandy Desert at the Art Gallery of Western Australia in 1986 included two painted 'assembly banners', each depicting Christian themes painted by a group of men (O'Ferrall, M., [ed.], Art from the Great Sandy Desert, Perth: Art Gallery of Western Australia, 1986, p.8).
In the winter of 1996, the first of a number of collaborative paintings was made during the tenure of James Cowan as art coordinator at Warlayirti Artists. Two of the first paintings are by Fred Tjakamarra, Sam Tjampitjin and Tjumpo Tjapanangka and are illustrated in Cowan, J., Balgo: New Directions, Sydney: Craftsman House, 1999, pp. 129 and 135. The three artists are all senior law men belonging to the same generation: Tjumpo Tjapanangka belongs to one patrimoiety, whereas Sam Tjampitjin and Fred Tjakamarra belong to the other. In these two paintings and in Men's Law painting. The Great Sandy Desert, W.A., 1997, the sequence of artists is consistent: Tjapanangka has painted the middle section in all three works, while the others have painted the sections to either side.
In this painting the upper register has been painted by Sam Tjampitjin and, on the left, it represents a place near Kiwirrkura called Parkulata with a camp and fire surrounded by a windbreak made of trees, to the right of which is a depiction of a whirlwind at Tarunku. The central section by Tjumpo depicts freshwater soaks, while the lower register by Fred Tjakamarra shows clouds and rain. As the title suggests, this composite image refers to the teachings of the Tingari ancestors.
This painting is sold with accompanying Warlayirti Artists documentation
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