Sunfly Tjampitjin (circa 1916-1996) Men's Law at Artist's Country at Murunpa, 1991
Lot 72
Sunfly Tjampitjin (circa 1916-1996) Men's Law at Artist's Country at Murunpa, 1991
Sold for AU$ 79,300 (US$ 74,268) inc. premium
Lot Details
Sunfly Tjampitjin (circa 1916-1996)
Men's Law at Artist's Country at Murunpa, 1991
bears artist's name, dimensions and Warlayirti Artists catalogue number 668/91 on the reverse, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi label on the stretcher and Aratjara: Art of the First Australians exhibition label on the reverse
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
100 x 75cm (39 3/8 x 29 1/2in).


    Warlayirti Artists, Wirrimanu (Balgo Hills), Western Australia
    Purchased from Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne in July 1992

    The View from Balgo Hills - an exhibition of paintings by Senior Law men and women, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne, 25 March - 25 April 1992, cat. no. 6
    Aratjara, Art of the First Australians, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf, Germany, 24 April - 4 July 1993, Hayward Gallery, London, England, UK, 23 July - 10 October 1993; Louisiana Museum, Humlebaek, Denmark, 11 February - 23 May 1994; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 23 June - 15 August 1994
    The Laverty Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 20 June - 23 August 1998
    Ngurra Kutu: Going Home, Yiribana Gallery at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, September 2001 - June 2002

    Bernard Luthi et al., Aratjara: art of the first Australians: traditional and contemporary works by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, exh. cat., Koln: DuMont, 1993, cat. no. 118, p.272 (illus.)
    Terry Ingram, 'Germany taps into Aboriginal Art', Australian Financial Review, 29 April 1993
    Ville & Casali, (Italian magazine) July/August 1993
    Neville Weston, 'London loves first Aussies', The West Australian, Arts Today, p.6, 24 September 1993 (illus.)
    Art and Australia, Autumn 1994, vol. 31, no. 3, p.323 (illus.)
    John McDonald, 'Art and Authenticity', Collections, the International Magazine of Art and Culture, 1998, vol. 3, no. 1, p.62
    The Laverty Collection, in MCA Now guide book, Winter 1998, June/July/August, p.5 (illus.)
    Jeremy Eccles, 'The Pleasure Principle',State of the Arts, August - November 1998, p.78 (illus.)
    James Cowan, Balgo: New Directions, Sydney: Craftsman House, 1999, pl.26, p.82 (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.133 (illus.)
    Colin Laverty and Elizabeth Laverty et al., Beyond Sacred: Australian Aboriginal Art - the collection of Colin and Elizabeth Laverty, Edition II, Melbourne: Kleimeyer Industries, 2011, p.148 (illus.)

    Balgo in the Tanami Desert is at the crossroads of
    several major Dreaming tracks that link the Western
    Desert and the Kimberley. Its significance as a religious
    place was multiplied when a Catholic Pallottine Mission
    was established in 1939. Sunfly (Sandfly) Tjampitjin
    was a senior Kukatja law man in the community with
    the ritual stature to paint about the most highly-charged
    religious subjects such as the Tingari ancestors and their
    revelatory acts. His paintings are characterised by bold
    iconic forms that have a sense of the monumental in
    scale, even thought the dimensions of the support may
    be modest. These forms dominate the picture plane
    and convey notions of certainty, clarity of thought
    and authoritativeness. Men's Law at artist's country at
    , 1991, shows two young initiates (the inverted
    and joined U-forms at the centre) camped near a large
    sand hill surrounded by hills, rocky outcrops and water
    soakages. The painting possesses an autobiographical
    dimension in that Murunpa, in the Alec Ross Range
    at the northern tip of Lake Mackay, is Tjampitjin's
    conception site and where in the latter years of his life
    he established an outstation.

    Sunfly Tjampitjin participated in the first ever
    exhibition of Balgo art at the Shinju Matsuri Festival,
    Broome in 1981. In 1986, he featured prominently in
    the groundbreaking exhibition Art from the Great Sandy
    at the Art Gallery of Western Australia which
    put the artists of Balgo on the map of Australian art.
    The exhibition was mounted in conjunction with the
    anthropologists Ronald and Catherine Berndt who had
    been conducting fieldwork at Balgo since 1958. Sunfly
    has been represented in several major international
    exhibitions including L'été australien à Montpellier: 100 chefsd'oeuvre
    de la peinture australienne
    , Musée Fabre, Montpellier,
    France, in 1990; Aboriginal Paintings from the Desert, Union
    of Soviet Artists Gallery, Moscow, and Museum of
    Ethnographic Art, St. Petersburg, in 1991; Crossroads-
    Towards a New Reality, Aboriginal Art from Australia
    , National
    Museums of Modern Art, Kyoto and Tokyo, in
    1992; and ARATJARA, Art of the First Australians, at the
    Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf, the
    Hayward Gallery, London, and the Louisiana Museum,
    Humlebaek, Denmark, in 1993-4.

    Wally Caruana

    This painting is sold with accompanying Warlayirti Artists documentation.
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