Born pre-contact, circa 1935, in one of the most remote corners of Australia’s central desert region, Patrick Tjungurrayi grew up living a traditional lifestyle before wandering in to the recently established Balgo Mission in the 1940’s. A senior lawman revered for his knowledge of lore and country he was the custodian for ceremonies and country between Balgo, Kiwirrkurra and Kintore.
Patrick Tjungurrayi’s paintings centred on the mythical Tingari stories that explain the creation of sacred sites and stories throughout his country, Kallianku. His work was defined by his deep ceremonial knowledge and authority as one of the most senior lawmen of his people.
Tjungurrayi’s interpretations of country are bold, colourful illustrations of an incredibly harsh environment. Displaying a deep-rooted connection to his traditional homeland there is a complete abstraction to the paintings and a supreme confidence in the application of the paint that came from his intimate knowledge of country and law. Employing a broad, kaleidoscopic palette his use of colour was masterly.
Sadly, Tjungurrayi passed away in 2017 but his legacy continues through his vibrant, colourful depictions of his homeland.