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Patju Presley

Untitled - 2006

synthetic polymer paint on canvas
133.0 x 167.0 cm
Price Realised: $1,830.00

MP #442


Irrunytju Arts, WA Cat No. IRRPP101006
Agathon Gallery, NSW Cat No. AGPP1106060005
Tjarla Arts, NSW Cat No. TAA#1188
The Mike Chandler Collection, NSW

Patju Presley is a senior Pitjantjatjara elder who lives in the remote Western Australian desert. He was born in the 1940s and as a young child lived a nomadic life practicing traditional law, culture, and ceremony.


In his youth, Patju spent some time at the Ernabella mission learning to read and write hymns and Bible stories. He trained to be a preacher and still delivers sermons at church services. He is also a strong culture man who practices traditional ceremonial singing and dancing, carves ceremonial and utilitarian objects, and hunts.

Patju's images are schematic representations of the epic journeys and creation stories of his country. References to important landforms, rockholes and songlines implicitly evoke the creation ancestors, their interactions and incidents that occurred during the earth's creation. His paintings demonstrate his intimate knowledge of country through intricate details of the changing vegetation, water sources and weather conditions at particular locations. They are heavily loaded with complex symbolic meanings and layered cultural references.