As an Australian company, it’s a privilege for us to have Ronnie Tjampitjinpa – one of our country’s most important artists – in our ICON Art Series, as well as see his artwork so acclaimed on the international stage.

In October, we travelled to the opening of the National Gallery of Victoria’s (NGV) first touring exhibition, ‘Tjukurrtjanu: Origins of Western Desert Art’, at the breathtaking Musée du quai Branly, Paris. The exhibition was fascinating.

On the 40th Anniversary of Papunya Tula Artists - the ground-breaking Aboriginal Artist-owned cooperative model – it charted the art history of the Papunya movement, as well as presenting many of the ceremonial objects (like shields and pendants) that relate directly to the artwork.

Judith Ryan, Senior Curator of Indigenous Art, NGV – was kind enough to give us an interview to talk about Ronnie’s painting style;

‘Ronnie Tjampitjinpa ignored dots; most of his work is strongly graphic, linear and very bold. Many of his designs are based on the water dreaming design found on pearl shell pendants and the zigzags that encode lightning and thunder – the power to make rain.’ 

Seeing the relationship between Ronnie’s ‘Rain Making’ and the pearl shell pendants that form part of the water dreaming was really exciting.

It was inspiring to hear Judith talk about how important Papunya Tula has been to Indigenous Art and in fact Australian culture itself;

‘Papunya Tula stands alone with the strongest reputation, but has had an impact on Indigenous Art in the cities, right across Arnhem Land, the Kimberley and Tasmania… It’s without a doubt that if Papunya Tula had not been established, we’d have a very different Australia today.’

Click here to learn more about Ronnie cases and videos.

(Our full interview with Judith Ryan, will complete our Papunya Tula Stories series, to be released in the coming weeks.)