Water Dreaming Tjikari

Johnny Warangkula Tjupurrula

Medium: Acrylic on Linen 
Dimensions: 121 x 182 cms
Year: 1998
Condition: Good

CHG Director's Statement: Warangkula’s painting career began after working as a labourer for many years building airstrips and settlements in Haasts Bluff, in return for his work building and labouring, he was remunerated with consumable goods ‘tucker’ (as he called it). After moving from Haasts Bluff to Papunya, Warangkula served on the Papunya Council along with Mick Namarai, Limpi Tjapangati and Kingsley Tjumgarrayi.

During the 1960’s, Warangkula’s rapidly developed a distinctive style of his own which came to be known as ‘overdotting’. He uses several layers of dots to depict his dreaming’s, which consist of water, yam, fire and egret stories. This more painterly approach signified his expanding encounter with the outside world, creating effects that Bardon called ‘tremulous illusion’.  Warangkula’s artworks are strictly Aboriginal stories without conscious European influence, they remain of major significance and are of considered of modern aesthetic.

Warangkula’s artworks from the mid-1970s – such as Emu Dreaming, 1974 – is typical of the experimentation that marked the founding Papunya Tula artists’ development of a simplified iconography.

In 1984, the inaugural Director of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, James Mollison chose to be photographed alongside Tjupurrula’s large canvas Yala Dreaming, 1982, and declared the work of the Papunya artists to be the ‘finest abstract art ever produced in this country’. 

Warangkula’s paintings have been exhibited extensively in Australia and overseas. These exhibitions include: 1981 National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; 1982 Georges Gallery, Melbourne; 1982 Brisbane Festival; 1982 London, England; 1988 Wagga Wagga City Art Gallery; 1989 ‘Mythscapes’, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; 1989 Westpac Gallery, Melbourne; 1989 Australian National Gallery, Canberra; 1991 Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami, USA; 1993 Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth; 1999 Flinders Art Museum Flinders University, Adelaide; 1999 ‘Tjinytjilpa’, Embassy of Australia, Washington, USA; 1999 Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco , USA; 2001 ‘Icons of Australian Aboriginal Art,’ Singapore. 

Collections: Robert Homes a Court, Queensland Art Gallery, National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Art Gallery of South  Australia, National Museum of Australia Canberra, National Gallery of Australia Canberra, Orange Regional Gallery, Alice Springs Law Courts, Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory Darwin, Flinders University Art Museum, South Australian Museum, Artbank, Araluen Centre, Alice Springs.

He passed away in Walungurru (Kintore), Northern Territory in 2001.

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