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Turkey Tolson Tjupurrula

Spear Straightening at Ilyingaungau - 1999

synthetic polymer paint on Belgian linen
152 x 62 cm
Price Realised: $8,540.00

MP #625


Aboriginal Desert Art Gallery, NT
Private Collection, SA

Accompanied by a photo of the artist painting this artwork

Turkey Tolson joined Papunya Tula artists as one of its youngest members, painting his earliest artworks for Geoff Bardon in 1972. He was one of the most innovative and figurative artists of the Papunya Tula movement's early days.

Throughout the 1980s, Tolson's unassuming leadership style and commitment to the community, combined with his individual approach, became the hallmarks of an enduring career. He introduced his Spear Straightening imagery around 1990 and retuned to it again and again thereafter. In time, it became his leitmotif.

In this example, the horizontal bands of dots evoke the shimmering heat and vast distances of the artist's desert country. In the Dreaming, the Mitukatjirri Men travelled from a claypan at Tjulula to Llyingaungau, a rocky outcrop far to the west of Alice Springs, where they made camp. A group of men entered the country from Tjikari, to the north. A fight ensued, after which the Mitukatjarri Men travelled to the nearby cave where they made their ceremonies. The parallel bands of dots represent spears, which the men straightened by warming the wood over a fire, bending it into shape as they waited for the men from Tjikari to arrive.