Don Tjungurrayi was born at the Bungalow in Alice Springs Telegraph Station in Australia, the year that World War two broke out. When the government establish the community of Yuendumu, Don and his family moved there and this is where Don attended school. He was initiated near Haast’s Bluff and then began working as a stockman and fencing contractor on various stations, including Hamilton Downs. He married the widowed Entalura Nangala and moved to Papunya where he started working in the communal kitchen.
Don has been painting since the beginning of the Aboriginal Art movement, commencing in Papunya during the 1970s. Entalura, Don’s wife, was one of the first females to begin painting during the late 1980s.
In 1986 Don won the Alice Art Prize. His very beautiful paintings talk about young male’s initiation ceremony. While many ceremonies are public, Male Initiation Ceremonies are secret and strangers, young women, non initiated boys and girls would be limited in attending the sacred ceremonies. The main categories of ceremonies are; education of their sacred laws and behavioral codes and to ensure continuation of totemic species to live in harmony with the land. Aboriginal men perform the ceremonies at different times of the year. Each ceremony has to be organized, supervised and managed and the performance of each ceremony dependents the person ownership, their knowledge as well as their status. A concentric circle represents a meeting place. Ceremonies involve songs, dances and body adornment.
Papunya 50 Years, 1971 - 2021, SmithDavidson Gallery Amsterdam, October 27 - December 12, 2021
2000 ‘Traumpfade Zeitgenössische Malerei australischer Aborigines’, Städtische Galerie, Traunstein, Germany
2000 'Kunst der Aborigines’, Leverkusen, Germany
2000 'BlickDicht - An- und Einblicke. Zeitgenössische Kunst australischer Aborigines’, Adelhausermuseum, Freiburg, Germany
1999 ‘Zeichen des Seins. Malerei der australischen Aborigines’, Städtische Galerie ADA, Meiningen, Germany
1998 ‘Kunst der Kontinente. Werke der Aborigines’, Kunstverein Alsdorf, Germany
1997 ‘Geschichtenbilder’, Aboriginal Art Galerie Bähr, Speyer, Germany
1994 Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs, Australia
1993 ‘Tjukurrpa. Desert Dreamings - A Survey of Central Desert Art 1971-1993’, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
1992 Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs, Australia
1991 ‘The Painted Dream. Contemporary Aboriginal Paintings’, Auckland City Art Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand
1987 4th Telstra NATSIAA, Musen and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin, Australia
1986 Queensland University, Brisbane, Australia
1984 Papunya Tula Artists Pty. Ltd., Alice Springs, Australia
1984 ‘Papunya and Beyond’, Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs, Australia
Born in Alice Springs on November 30th, -0001