Willy Tjungurrayi

Willy Tjungurrayi was born around the year 1930 at Patjantja, near Wilkinkarra (Lake Mackay) in de Western Desert of Australia. He grew up in the bush living a traditional life with his brothers Yala Yala Gibbs Tjungurrayi and George Tjungurrayi, both prominent Pintupi painters. Willy and his family were brought to Haasts Bluff in the 1950s. In 1976 they moved to Papunya where he started to paint for Papunya Tula Artists.

In the 1980s he emerged as one of the senior Pintupi painters. In his paintings he depicts stories linked to the Tingari Song Cycles, which relate to his country and how his spiritual ancestors created the features of the landscape in the Dreamtime. The Tingari stories also serve as the basis for the religion, traditions and laws of the community. Because of his senior position within the community, Willy is entitled to paint the most significant and secret parts of the Tingari stories, many of which can not be revealed to the uninitiated.

The artist’s pallet consists of browns, oranges pinks and creams. These are the colours of the earth in Central Australia and typical for many Papunya Tula Artists. His later work is comprised of regular lines of very fine, pale dotting on a coloured background, resulting in subtle, elegant and linear images.

Willy Tjugurray’s work is represented in private and public collections in Australia and overseas.


1973 "Warlpiri and Pintupi Art", Angaston 
1981 "Aboriginal Artists of Australia" 
1985 "Dot and Circle", RMIT, Melbourne 
1986 National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne 
1989 Westpac Gallery, Melbourne 
1989 "Mythscapes", National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne 
1993 Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth 
1994, 2000 Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs 1999 Flinders Art Museum , Flinders University, Adelaide 
2000 "Twenty-five years and Beyond", Art Gallery of NSW (in association with Papunya Tula Artists), Sydney 2001 "Pintupi", Alice Springs

Born in Patjanta on November 30th, 1931

Died in *unknown* on November 30th, 2017

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