Woman Camped at Kampurrula
synthetic polymer paint on board
34 x 58 cm
Painted at Kintore, Northern Territory for Papunya Tula Artists, N.T
Private Collection, New South Wales
From the outset of his career as a painter Johnny Warrangkula Tjupurrula intuitively transformed traditional desert ceremonial ground designs into inventive paintings on board and canvas conveying the myths and journeys associated with the sacred waterhole at Ilpilli, the surrounding limestone soaks, its inhabitants and the metaphysics of this country’s creation. His distinctive style is characterized by layering and over-dotting, which Geoff Bardon often referred to as ‘tremulous illusion’.
This painting was executed at Papunya when the artist was at the height of his artistic powers. The painting depicts the storm centre and water or rain dreaming 'totemic site' of Kampurrula, a key site over which the artist had authority, located some 3-400km west of Alice Springs. Geoff Bardon wrote with regard to the artist's paintings of this period; 'Johnny's paintings are of major significance; they are strictly Aboriginal stories without conscious European influence, and yet they can be measured by the modern asthetic. . . he worked with great inventiveness outside the strict confines of totems and formal ritual. His work has anecdotal intimacy, a candid freshness and spontaneity that beguiles through its individuality.' (Bardon, G., 1991, p.53)