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Johnny Warangkula Tjupurrula

Men's Ceremony - 1999

synthetic polymer paint on Belgian linen
153.0 x 91.0 cm
EST. $5,000 - $7,000

MP #724


Field Collected by Paul Walsh, NT Cat. No. JW997KD
Aboriginal Gallery of Dreamings, Vic Cat. No. 7819
Hank Ebes Collection, Vic


accompanied by a certificate booklet from Aboriginal Gallery of Dreamings

Born in the far reaches of the Western Desert, Johnny Warangkula encountered the outside world at just 12 years of age. Within three years his family moved in to Hermannsburg mission where he went through initiation and moved to Papunya shortly after its establishment. At the time of Geoff Bardon’s arrival in 1971 he was serving on the Papunya Council alongside Mick Namarari.


Johnny Warangkula was quick to express interest in painting and rapidly developed a distinctive style characterised by layering and over-dotting,
He was amongst the most inventive of the early Papunya artists and was foremost amongst those who fundamentally shaped the Papunya art movement. However by the mid 1980s his eyesight began to fail and his painting became infrequent. By the end of the 1990s Warangkula was old and relatively infirm. Yet even at this late stage he was capable of creating raw expressionistic paintings such as this fine example.

The finest of Johnny Waralgkula’s works continue to inspire. Over his thirty-year career, he was a distinctive figure, always wearing his stockman’s hat and charming visitors with his enigmatic but sincere personality. He was oblivious to the attractions of life beyond the power and responsibilities of his Dreamings. Yet his best paintings not only reverberate with the power of ancient knowledge and forms, but they continue to captivate Western audiences through their uncanny access to our modern sensibility.