Explore a world of art, including Australian art from colonial to present day, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, old masters, Asian and contemporary art. Suitable for 5-12 year olds (with an adult).
Ronnie Tjampitjinpa was born in Pintupi land at Muyinnga, about 100 kilometres west of the Kintore Range, just across the Western Australian border. He is the son of Uta Uta Tjangala's older brother, Minpuru Tjangala (c.1899-1976).
After his initiation into Pintupi law at the site of Yumari, Tjampitjinpa and his younger brother Smithy Zimran Tjampitjinpa walked into the Aboriginal community of Yuendumu. They later joined their parents and other siblings – who had come in to Ikuntji (Haasts Bluff) in 1956 from the Dover Hills/Yumari area – at the new settlement of Papunya. Tjampitjinpa worked as a labourer, assisting with the fencing of the aerodromes at Papunya and Ikuntji. He was one of the youngest of the group of men who began painting at the start of the Western Desert art movement in 1971, and was a founder of Papunya Tula Artists.
During the 1970s, Tjampitjinpa was preoccupied with returning to his traditional lands and became a strong advocate for the outstation movement, travelling between meetings in Papunya, Yuendumu, Wirrimanu (Balgo) and Mount Doreen Station. His goal was finally achieved with the establishment of the Walungurru (Kintore) settlement in 1981. Tjampitjinpa moved there with his young family in 1983, establishing an outstation at Ininti (Redbank) and serving as chairman of the Kintore Outstation Council. During this period, he emerged as one of Papunya Tula Artists' major painters, pioneering the bold, scaled-up, linear style that came to dominate many of the Walungurru painters' work during the 1990s. His distinctive aesthetic preoccupation is exemplified in the untitled works of 1994 and 2001. Now one of the last founding members of Papunya Tula Artists, Tjampitjinpa's career spans more than 30 years. He has had six solo exhibitions since 1989 in Australia, most recently at Utopia Art, Sydney.
Throughout the 1980s Tjampitiinpa worked devotedly on a land claim for Ininti, holding meetings in Darwin, Warmun (Turkey Creek), Utopia and many other places before finally abandoning political involvement as '... too much humbug for too long'. Tjampitjinpa now wants '... to settle down and work for myself, just painting', and resides on his outstation when not at Walungurru or in Mparntwe (Alice Springs).
Vivien Johnson in 'Tradition today: Indigenous art in Australia', Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2004
© Art Gallery of New South Wales
Sir Joshua Reynolds
Puck on a toadstool
The visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon
When contemplating this picture it is useful to bear in mind that the second half of the nineteenth century was a period remarkable for archaeological researches and discoveries, especially by English expeditions. The British Museum was a treasure house of antiquities increasingly valued by artists as a reference library. Egypt and the Middle East replaced Greece and Italy as the focus of curiosity. 'The visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon' can be contextualised against a craze for orientalist narratives in literature, music and visual art. The wildly composite architectural system of Solomon's temple is reprised in the frame, which bridges the temporal and spatial distance between viewer and subject. The artist has been so obsessed with the accuracy of his details, however, that the figures seem somewhat doll-like. Trained in Paris under Gleyre, Poynter was at heart a Salonist for whom artistry resided in weight of detail rather than dramatic synthesis.
AGNSW Handbook, 1999.
The snake charmer
Another of the prolofic technicians of late nineteenth-century art, Dinet was a French-born painter-illustrator, with a penchant for attention-seeking titles and striking technical effects are exploited in 'The snake charmer', an orientalist painting that doubles as a touristic postcard. Exotic in its geo-graphical setting and sensational in its subject matter, it further trades on scale as a strategy to arrest the viewer. The figures are large and brilliantly coloured, seeming to spill into the gallery space. The charmer himself is consciously that, with a toothy smile and 'authentic' costume. Also noteworthy is the treatment of bright sunlight which Dinet translates into broad applications of impasto paint with practised, not to say formulaic, ease. No real attempt is made to create a composition. Rather, the cropped casualness of a photograph is suggested.
AGNSW Handbook, 1999.