APintupi man from the Western Desert region, George Tjungurrayi’s vision of his people’s traditional Dreaming stories assumes mesmeric linear forms that set his work apart as his own, distinctive voice. His unique visual language will be on show at the Biennale of Sydney. IN AN INDUSTRIAL WAREHOUSE IN SYDNEY’S Alexandria, a slice of the Western Desert radiates and shimmers off an unstretched canvas in the centre of the room. It’s a seductive, optical ballet that characterises the work of Indigenous painter George Tjungurrayi. But the swimming, shifting forms that mesmerise are only one part of the magic to be discovered here. Tjungurrayi is a Pintupi man from the Western Desert, around six and a half hours west of Alice Springs. Though he lives and works in Kintore, the place he associates with most is Wilkinkarra; an enormous, arid salt lake surrounded by rolling sand hills and vast desert flats. Wilkinkarra is an important site for many Pintupi men and women, and plays a central role in the Dreaming stories associated with the area. The painters who associate with Wilkinkarra each establish their own way of portraying these tales. Just as there are myriad interpretations of ‘The Last Supper’, so too are there countless variations of the Pintupi stories, all painted with an individual hand, told with a nuanced voice. Tjungurrayi’s is certainly a voice that resounds.
01 Untiled, 2017, acrylic on linen, 153 x 122cm 02 George Tjungurrayi, courtesy the artist and Papunya Tula 02