Willy Tjungurrayi was born at Patjantja, south west of Lake Mackay around 1930. Willy’s skin name and age makes him a brother of Brandy Tjungurrayi, as well as the older brother of George Tjungurrayi. As did Brandy, Willy grew up in the bush and was brought with his family to Haasts Bluff in the late 1950s. He moved to Papunya where he started painting for Papunya Tula Artists in 1976.
In the 1980s he emerged as one of the senior Pintupi painters. He paints stories linked to the Tingari Song Cycles relating to these places. The artist’s senior position in his community entitles him to paint the most significant and secret parts of the Tingari stories, many of which cannot be revealed to the uninitiated. He tends to paint with a restrained palette (browns, oranges, dusky pinks and creams) typical of many of the Papunya artists. His recent work is comprised of irregular lines of very fine, pale dotting on a colored background, resulting in subtle, elegant, linear images.
Willy Tjungurrayi’s work has been collected by the National Gallery of Australia, the Art Gallery of NSW, the Holmes à Court collection and the Victorian Arts Centre.
Aboriginal Art Museum, The Netherlands.
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.
Flinders University Art Museum, Adelaide.
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.
Parliament House Art Collection, Canberra.
The Holmes a Court Collection, Perth.
The Kelton Foundation, Santa Monica, U.S.A.
2006 – The second Shalom Gamarada Aboriginal Art Exhibition, Shalom College, University of New South Wales, Sydney.
2004 – Papunya Tula Artists 2004, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne; Australian Aboriginal Art Collector’s Exhibition, Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne; 21st Telstra National Aborigainal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin.
2003 – Kintore Kiwirrkura 2003, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
1994 – Central Australian Aboriginal Art and Craft Exhibition, Araluen Centre, Alice Springs; Yiribana, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.
1991 – The Painted Dream: Contemporary Aboriginal Paintings from the Tim and Vivien Johnson Collection, Auckland City Art Gallery and Te Whare Taonga o Aoteroa National Art Gallery, New Zealand.
1989 – Aboriginal Art: The Continuing Tradition, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.
1988 – Australian Aboriginal Graphics from the Collection of the Flinders University Art Museum
1987 – Art and Aboriginality, Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth, UK.
1985 – Dot and Circle, a retrospective survey of the Aboriginal acrylic paintings of Central Australia, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne.
1983 – Papunya: paintings from the Central Australian Desert, touring exhibition, America and Europe.
1982 – Georges Gallery, Melbourne; Brisbane Festival; Mori Gallery, Sydney.:
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