WILLY TJUNGURRAYI (b 1936)
Willy is one of the most sought after painters of the Western Desert. As a senior Pintupi man, he is entitled by his ancestry to paint the sacred and secret Tingari cycle. He is the brother of the respected artists Brandy and George “Hairbrush” Tjungurrayi, and the late Yala Yala Gibbs Tjungurrayi. Yala Yala was the founding member of the Papunya art movement. Willy has been acknowledged as one of the great colourists of contemporary Aboriginal painting.
He was raised by his uncle, Charlie Tawara, and it was Charlie’s camels that brought them to Haast’s Bluff in 1956 with other Pintupi people. He began painting for Papunya Tula Artists in 1976, which was the first artists community for indigenous art.
Stories from the Tingari Dreaming song cycle, and the land around Haast’s Bluff, feature prominently in Willy’s work. The wavy, shimmering lines in ‘Sand hills’ are thought to represent the fierce hailstorm that killed the ancestral Tingari men in the Dreamtime story.
Willy is a Papunya Tula Artist.