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Donkeyman Lee Tjupurrula

Untitled - 1987

synthetic polymer paint on canvas
118.0 x 90.0 cm
Price Realised: $5,124.00

MP #707


Catholic Mission, Balgo Hills, WA Cat. No. 876545
The Edward's Collection, Qld
Sotheby's Australia, Important Aboriginal Art, Melbourne, June 1997, Lot No. 206
Aboriginal Gallery of Dreamings, Vic Cat. No. 12182
Hank Ebes Collection, Vic

Born 'in the bush’ near the present site of the Kiwirrkurra community c.1925, Donkeyman Lee was a Kukatja speaker who lived most of his life after contact with the outside world at Balgo Hills, far to the north.


Donkeyman's principal site was Walla Walla, just out of Kiwirrkurra, and his paintings, which he began producing in 1985 at Balgo, are mainly Tingari stories for this area. He was an incredibly gifted artist and one of Balgo’s finest male painters in the 1980s. His works are similar in their cartographic complexity to those by his contemporary, Wimmitji Tjampangati. They convey the inherent power located within specific sites. 


Donkeyman conveyed a powerful sense of his desert country through works that were distinctive for the bold layout and execution expected of an man deeply seeped in Men’s Law. All his works communicate something of the artist's sense of power of the land. His legacy, as part of the first generation of Balgo Artists, is as profound as the deep wellsprings of his knowledge, and his standing as a senior custodian and participant in sacred Men’s Law.