Long Jack Phillipus Tjakamarra (born 1932) Bush Tucker Story, 1972

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Lot 18
Long Jack Phillipus Tjakamarra
(born 1932)
Bush Tucker Story, 1972

Sold for AU$ 70,760 (US$ 48,487) inc. premium
Long Jack Phillipus Tjakamarra (born 1932)
Bush Tucker Story, 1972
inscribed verso with Stuart Art Centre consignment number 18050
synthetic polymer paint on composition board
72.0 x 77.0cm (28 3/8 x 30 5/16in).

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE
    Stuart Art Centre, Alice Springs (consignment 18)
    Mr Timothy Guthrie, acquired from the above in 1972
    Sotheby's, Melbourne, 30 June 1997, lot 31
    Private collection, Melbourne

    EXHIBITED
    Tjukurrtjanu: Origins of Western Desert Art, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 30 September 2011 - 12 February 2012; then touring to Musée du quai Branly, Paris, 9 October 2012 - 20 January 2013

    LITERATURE
    Judith Ryan, Tjukurrtjanu: Origins of Western Desert Art, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2011, p. 94 (illus.)

    Between 1971-1972, Australian artist Tim Guthrie (1933-1991) moved with his family to Alice Springs, coinciding with the emergence of the Western Desert art movement. The innovative works being produced by a group of 20 or so senior men at Papunya, one hundred and fifty kilometres north-west of there, were being sent to the Stuart Art Centre in Alice Springs for sale where Guthrie was exhibiting his own work. This chance encounter at such a historically, culturally and artistically significant moment was to deeply impact Guthrie, who, over his 12 months there was to purchase a total of 20 works. He can be considered the first private collector of early Papunya boards. The first public institution to acquire works was the Museum and Art Gallery. of the Northern Territory when in 1972, at the encouragement of Pat
    Hogan who ran the Stuart Art Centre, the new director Colin Jack-Hinton purchased 104 works. This formed the foundations of what is now the most significant collection of Papunya paintings in the world, with the gallery now holding a total of 207 works.

    Long Jack Phillipus was one of the key painters of the Honey Ant mural at Papunya School and, under the encouragement of Geoffrey Bardon, was one of the first artists to join the 'Men's painting group.' A founding member of the movement, Phillipus proudly acknowledged, 'We started it, like a bushfire this painting business, and it went every way, north, east, south, west. Papunya in the middle.' 1 Four of his works were included in the first consignment to the Stuart Art Centre in September 1971.2

    According to the original Stuart Art Centre documentation, this painting depicts a ceremony for the 'increase of bush tucker', the elongated red objects representing sacred tjuringas used in the corroboree, and the overlapping circular lines representing movement of growth of bush tucker. When consulted on this work for the 1997 auction of Tim Guthrie's collection, Dick Kimber suggested that the site depicted may be a mountain known as Kampurranga, which lies immediately north of the Ehrenburg Range, and its part of the artist's 'key country'. This is the totemic site for the Kampurranga fruit or 'bush raisin', a staple 'bush tucker.'

    We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Luke Scholes in cataloguing this work.

    1. Luke Scholes in Judith Ryan (et al.) 2011 op. cit., p. 92
    2. Luke Scholes (ed.), Tjungunutja: From Having Come Together, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin, 2018, p. 269
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