Important Australian Indigenous Art
22 March 2023


born c.1945

synthetic polymer paint on linen

151.0 x 182.0 cm

bears inscription verso: artist's name, size and Papunya Tula Artists cat. GW0302221

$20,000 – $30,000
Sold for $40,500 (inc. BP) in Auction 73 - 22 March 2023, Melbourne

Papunya Tula Artists, Alice Springs, Northern Territory
Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne (cat. AK10862)
Private collection, Melbourne

Catalogue text

A highly respected artist, in 2004 George Ward Tjungurrayi received the prestigious Wynne prize for landscape painting at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. At the time he was only the second Indigenous art to be awarded the honour. Born in the desert in Western Australia, he is the half-brother of Yala Yala Gibbs Tjungurrayi and Willy Tjungurrayi. Relocated with his family to the Papunya settlement by the Northern Territory Welfare Branch in the 1960s, Ward worked as a butcher and fencer. Moving in the 1980s to Kiwirrkura, deep in Pintupi territory, inspired him to begin painting. His first exhibition was held in 1990, and his work has since been shown in group and solo shows throughout Australia and around the world.
This arresting work is a fine example of the artist’s multi layered compositions. Most likely depicting the site of Karrkurritinytja (Lake MacDonald), the painting tells of the travels of the mythological ancestors known as the Tingari, who moved across the landscape performing rituals and creating particular sites.