Ronnie Tjampitjinpa is a world-renowned Australian Aboriginal artist and fully-initiated Pintupi man, who won the Northern Territory Art Award (1984) and Alice Prize (1988). Tjampitjinpa is considered an innovator and one of the grand masters of the Central and Western Desert Art movement.
‘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.’ Judith Ryan, Senior Curator Indigenous Art, National Gallery of Victoria (NGV).
In 2004, Tjampitjinpa was elected to Chairman of the Papunya Tula Artists – the pioneer artist-owned cooperative model – this year celebrating its 40th anniversary. Papunya Tula have not only promoted individual artists, but provided economic development for the communities to which they belong (including youth, educational, sporting, health and transport programs) and assisted in the maintenance of a rich cultural heritage.
Tjampitjinpa’s work features in the National Gallery of Victoria’s (NGV) ‘Tjukurrtjanu: Origins of Western Desert Art’, which is an international touring exhibition set to open at Musée du quai Branly, Paris in October 2012. The Ronnie Tjampitjinpa series is based on two works;
‘Rain Making’ based on the original artwork, 'Rain Making At Malparingya’, depicting body paint designs associated with rain making ceremonies at the site of Malparingya, slightly south east of Wilkinkarra (Lake Mackay).
‘Echidna Dreaming’ based on the original artwork, 'Echidna Dreaming At Tjungaringya‘, depicting body paint designs associated with Tingari ceremonies relating to the Tjilkamata (Echidna) Dreaming at the claypan and rockhole site of Tjungaringya, south of Lake Mackay.
To document this exciting collaboration, we've filmed a series of short films – Papunya Tula Stories (watch above) – the first time, Ronnie was filmed painting and was interviewed on location at Kintore, 500 kms west of Alice Springs, Northern Territory.