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Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri

Untitled - Rock Wallaby Dreaming - 1984

synthetic polymer paint on canvas
61.0 x 91.0 cm
Price Realised: $10,980.00

MP #444


Papunya Tula Artists, NT Cat. No. CP840215
Private Collection, NSW
Lawson~Menzies Australian Aboriginal Art, Nov 2007, Lot No.158
Private Collection, USA

Artwork: 61 x 91 cm : Frame 75 x 105 cm

Clifford Possum was the first recognised star of Western Desert art and one of Australia’s most distinguished painters of the late twentieth century. His unique artistic style was characterised by its innovative use of spatial configuration in paintings that conveyed a remarkable sense of atmosphere.


This work, depicting Rock Wallaby ancestors was created in 1984. It is one of the last that he created for Papunya Tula Artists having begun is career painting during Geoffrey Bardons' time in the community in 1972. Though he'd been Chairman of the Papunya Tula during the late 1970s and early 1980s he had become a largely independent artist by 1985.

Approximately 280 Kms north-west of Alice Springs and west of Mount Wedge is Marrunga (Waite Creek). From this site Mala the Rock Wallaby travelled south-west past Ayres Rock and into Pitjantjatjara country.

The concentric circles in this work are the camps made by the two old men wallabies shown as U shapes at the top and bottom of the work. These two old wallaby men were of the Tjangala skin group and whilst at this site they led young initiates through part of their instruction in Aboriginal law and ritual. The tracks show the movement of the men's travels in the area and the elongated curved lines represent the design painted onto men's bodies for the ritual.