George Hairbrush Tjungurrayi

George Hairbrush Tjungurrayi

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DOB: c.1943
Born: Walawala, Kiwirrkurra, WA
LANGUAGE: Pintupi
COMMUNITY: Kintore, NT

George Hairbrush Tjungurrayi, one of the original members of what were to become the Aboriginal art movement, was born around 1943 in his country North West of Kiwirrkurra, located in the Gibson Desert in Western Australia. George's 'sisters' are Naata Nungurrayi and Nganngi (Nancy) Nungurrayi, both well-known artists like George. George and his family lived a traditional life until they came out of the desert via Mt Doreen Station and Yuendumu. In 1962, George walked to Papunya as a guide for Jeremy Long's Welfare Branch patrol.

In 1971, school teacher Geoffrey Bardon encouraged some of the senior men to paint a blank school wall. George's 'uncle', Charlie Tarawa Tjungurrayi, was one of the men involved. The school murals sparked immense interest and is seen as the catalyst of the Papunya art movement and the beginning of the Aboriginal Art Movement.

George served as an 'apprentice' to the senior artists in the Papunya art community. He was surrounded and encouraged by some of the great artists in the Aboriginal art movement, and in 1976 he began to paint in his own right after encouragement from Nosepeg Tjupurrula, one of the founding artists of the Papunya art movement and a leading identity.

Whilst his early works resemble that of some of the great Papunya masters, George soon developed his own distinctive style. George has perfected a minimalist and abstracted style of painting that is characterised by transverse parallel lines that pulse with subtle optical rhythm. While there are aesthetic parallels with works created by contemporary Western artists of the Op-art movement, George's works are based on his country and culture. George's artworks symbolise ancestral journeys and ceremonial body paint. In particular, George paints the Tingari stories of his ancestral country which covers the sites around Kiwirrkura, Lake Mackay, Kulkuta, Karku, Ngaluwinyamana and Kilpinya. Professor Vivien Johnson has also suggested that his striking imagery is drawn from the distinctive Western Desert style of 'fluted' carving: fine parallel lines incised into the wood and coated with ochres which embellished men's ceremonial boomerangs and shields.

The Tingari cycle embodies a vast network of Aboriginal Dreaming songlines that traverse the Western Desert region of Australia. Locations and events of the Tingari cycle frequently occur as the subject matter of Aboriginal art from the region. In Pintupi narratives, a group of Tingari men (ancestral elders) - who were usually followed by groups of women and children - travelled over the Western Desert area performing rituals and creating the country. Deep knowledge of Tingari business is still very secretive and restricted to men in the community who hold an appropriate level of seniority. There are however public stories that do not disclose secret/sacred knowledge.

George's first solo exhibition was in 1997 at Utopia Art Sydney and was quickly followed by another in 1998 at Gabrielle Pizzi in Melbourne, which was a sell-out and received a rave review from art critic Robert Rooney. By the end of the decade, George Hairbrush Tjungurrayi was one of Papunya's most sought-after painters. George has continued to exhibit throughout Australia and internationally. He was a finalist in the Wynne Prize 2007, and in 2006 George Tjungurrayi was Highly Commended in the 34th Alice Prize. In 2003 he was voted as one of the "50 Most Collectable Artists" by Australian Art Collector magazine. His son Jake James Tjapaltjarri also a collectible artist.

Johnson explains that George's nickname 'Hairbrush' is presumably inspired by his curly hair which sticks out in every direction as though it had never felt the touch of one.

Collections

  • Steve Martin & Anne Springfield Collections, USA
  • Kluge-Ruhe Collection of the University of Virginia, USA
  • Groninger Museum, Groningen, The Netherlands
  • Kelton Foundation, Los Angeles, USA
  • Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand
  • Musee des Arts d'Afrique et d'Oceanie, Paris
  • National Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
  • National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
  • National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
  • Queensland University, Brisbane
  • Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
  • Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs
  • Artbank, Sydney
  • Supreme Court of the Northern Territory, Darwin
  • Robert Holmes a Court Collection, Perth
  • Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
  • Dr Peter Elliot Collection, Sydney
  • Hank Ebes Collection, Melbourne
  • The Luczo Family Collection, USA
  • Museo Sa Bassa Blanca, Mallorca, Spain
  • Australian National University, Canberra
  • Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
  • Kaplan & Levi Collection, USA
  • Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin
  • Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, USA
  • Parliament House Art Collection, Canberra
  • Kunstwerk Sammlung, Alison & Peter Klein Collection
  • Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
  • Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
  • Sammlung Essl, Vienna
  • Corrigan Collection, Sydney
  • Luciano Benetton Collection, Venice
  • McClelland Collection, McClelland Sculpture Park & Gallery, Langwarrin, VIC
  • Fondation Burkhardt-Felder Arts et Culture, Moitiers, Switzerland

Awards and Recognition

2021 38th NATSIAA, Darwin - Finalist
2020 Wynne Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney - Finalist
2020 Mosman Art Prize, Sydney - Finalist
2019 Wynne Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney - Finalist
2016 Wynne Prize, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney - Finalist
2015 Wynne Prize, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney - Finalist
2014 Wynne Prize, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney - Finalist
2011 28th NATSIAA, Darwin - Finalist and Highly Commended
2010 27th NATSIAA, Darwin - Finalist and Highly Commended
2010 Desert Mob, Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs - Finalist
2009 TogArt Contemporary Art Award, Darwin Convention Centre, Darwin - Finalist
2009 26th NATSIAA, Darwin - Finalist
2008 TogArt Contemporary Art Award, Darwin Convention Centre, Darwin - Finalist
2008 Desert Mob, Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs - Finalist
2007 Wynne Prize, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney - Finalist
2007 24th NATSIAA, Darwin - Finalist
2006 34th Alice Art Prize, Alice Springs - Finalist and Highly Commended
2006 Desert Mob, Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs - Finalist
2005 Wynne Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney - Finalist
2003 Top 50 Collectable Artists, Australian Art Collector Magazine
2003 Wynne Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney - Finalist
2003 20th NATSIAA, Darwin - Finalist
2001 31st Alice Springs Art Prize, Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs - Finalist
1999 Desert Mob, Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs - Finalist
1998 Desert Mob, Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs - Finalist

History

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2020 The Iconic George Hairbrush Tjungurrayi exhibition, Mandel Aboriginal Art Gallery, Melbourne
2018 George Tjungurrayi: Major Works, Utopia Art, Sydney
2016 Paintings, Utopia Art, Sydney
2016 Desert Line, FireWorks Gallery, Brisbane
2013 Pulka Canvas, Utopia Art, Sydney
2011 Space and Place, Utopia Art, Sydney
2008 Between the lines, Utopia Art, Sydney
2003 Paintings from Mamultjulkulnga and Kirrimalunya, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
2002 Utopia Art, Sydney
2002 New Fields, Utopia Art, Sydney
1998 Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
1997 George Tjungurrayi - first solo show, Utopia Art, Sydney
1989 - 2002 Unforeseen , FireWorks Gallery, Brisbane


Selected Group Exhibitions

2021 50 Years of Papunya Tula Artists, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2021 papunya tula | fifty years, Harvey Arts Projects, Sun Valley, ID, USA
2021 Country in Mind, University of the Sunshine Coast, QLD
2021 SIGNIFICANT, D'Lan Contemporary, Melbourne
2021 The McClelland Collection: 50 Years, McClelland Sculpture Park & Gallery, Langwarrin, VIC
2021 Papunya Tula: 50 years 1971-2021, S.H. Erwin Gallery, Sydney
2020 Grounded, Masterworks from Indigenous Australia, Harvey Art Projects, Ketchum, ID, USA
2020 Sydney Contemporary 2020, Sydney
2020 Desert Painters of Australia - Two Generations, Gagosian Gallery, Hong Kong
2020 Central Focus, Art Mob, Hobart
2020 Desert Stories, Paul Johnstone Gallery, Darwin
2020 Reflections on Emily and Papunya, High Line Nine Galleries, New York
2020 Pintupi Masters - Enduring Dreamings, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2020 Director's Choice 2020, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2020 Spring, Fireworks Gallery, Brisbane
2020 Papunya, D'Lan Contemporary, Melbourne
2020 Linesmen, Fireworks Gallery, Brisbane
2019 Grand Old Men - a survey exhibition, Paul Johnstone Gallery, Darwin
2019 Desert Painters of Australia: Works form the Kluge-Ruhe Collection of the University of Virginia and the Collection of Steve Martin & Anne Stringfield, Gagosian Gallery, New York, and Gagosian Gallery, Los Angeles
2019 Sydney Contemporary, Carriageworks, Sydney
2019 defining tradition | black + white, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2019 Community X, Utopia Art, Sydney
2019 Pintupi Artists of the Western Desert, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle
2019 Celebrating Australian Abstraction, Utopia Art, Sydney
2019 Significant, D'Lan Contemporary, Melbourne
2018 Anniversary Group Show I: Country Lines, FireWorks Gallery, Brisbane
2018 Superposition: Equilibrium and Engagement, 21st Biennale of Sydney, Carriageworks, Sydney
2018 Community IX, Utopia Art, Sydney
2017 Gems of the Stockroom, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2017 Masters, Utopia Art, Sydney
2017 Sydney Contemporary, Carriageworks, Sydney
2017 Along the Lines, FireWorks Gallery, Brisbane
2017 Duddell's x Biennale of Sydney, Abstraction of the World, Duddell's, Hong Kong, curated by Mami Kataoka
2017 Salon des Refuses, S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney
2017 Community VIII, Utopia Art, Sydney
2017 Museum III, Utopia Art, Sydney
2017 Alternative Museum, Utopia Art, Sydney
2016 Landstract Abscape, Utopia Art, Sydney
2016 Cornucopia, Utopia Art, Sydney
2015 Community VII, Utopia Art, Sydney
2015 Collectible, Utopia Art, Sydney
2015 Sydney Contemporary, Carriageworks, Sydney
2015 Wynners, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2014 Abstraction, Utopia, Art, Sydney
2014 Community VI, Utopia Art, Sydney
2014 Sublime Point: the Landscape in Painting, Hazelhurst Regional Gallery, Hazelhurst, NSW
2013 The Salon, Utopia Art, Sydney
2013 Painting Now, Utopia Art, Sydney
2013 No Boundaries, Bayside Arts & Cultural Centre, Melbourne
2013 Landscape, Utopia Art, Sydney
2013 Community V, Utopia Art, Sydney
2012 Abstraction, Utopia Art, Sydney
2012 Volume One: MCA Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
2012 Classic Works from Papunya Tula Artists, Utopia Art, Sydney
2012 Ancestral Modern: Australian Aboriginal Art from the Kaplan & Levi Collection, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle
2012 Interconnected, Utopia Art, Sydney
2012 Reportoire, Utopia Art, Sydney
2012 Community IV, Celebrating 40 years of Paumya Tula Artists, Utopia Art, Sydney
2012 Unique Perspectives: Papunya Tula Artists and the Alice Springs Community, Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs
2011 Up Close and Personal: works from the collection of Dr Peter Elliott AM, S. H. Ervin Gallery,
Sydney
2011 AAA - Australian Abstract Art, Utopia Art, Sydney
2011 40 years of Papunya Tula Art, Utopia Art, Sydney
2011 Pintupi Art 2011, A P Bond Gallery, Adelaide
2011 Papunya Tula Artists - Community III, Utopia Art, Sydney
2010 Museum III, Utopia Art, Sydney
2010 Desert Country, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
2010 Papunya Tula Artists Now, Utopia Art, Sydney
2010 Melbourne Art Fair, Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne
2010 Ngurra Kutju Ngurrara - Belonging To One Country, ReDot Gallery, Singapore
2010 The Desert Mob Art Show, Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs
2010 Wilkinkarralakutu - Journeys To Lake Mackay, Cross Cultural Art Exchange, Darwin
2010 Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair, Darwin Convention Centre, Darwin
2010 Aboriginal Art 2010, Scott Livesey Galleries, Melbourne
2010 Tradition & Innovation - Papunya Tula 2010, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
2010 Recent Paintings, Chapman Gallery, Canberra

2009 Nganana Tjungurrayi Tjukurrpa Nintintjakitja: We are Here Sharing our Dreaming, East Galleries, New York
2009 Papunya Tula Classics, Utopia Art Sydney
2009 Papunya 2009: Senior Pintupi Artists, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
2009 Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair, The Chan Building, Bennett Park Darwin
2009 Painting the Country, Cross Cultural Art Exchange, Darwin
2009 Pintupi 2009, Tony Bond Aboriginal Art Dealer, Adelaide
2009 Community - The Heart of Papunya Tula Artists, Utopia Art, Sydney
2009 Nganampatju Kanpatja Winki, Nganampatju Yara Winkii - All Our Paintings, All Our Stories, Papunya Tula Artists, Alice Springs
2008 Ngurra Yurru Kulintjaku - Always Remembering Country, Cross Cultural Art Exchange, Darwin
2008 David Larwill and the Western Desert Artists, Stephan Wiess Studio, New York
2008 Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair, Convention Centre, Darwin
2008 Aboriginal Art 2008, Scott Livesey Galleries, Melbourne
2008 The Desert Mob Show, Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs
2008 20 Years of Papunya Tula Artists, Utopia Art, Sydney
2008 Pintupi Art 2008, Tony Bond Aboriginal Art Dealer, Adelaide
2008 Kintore to Kiwirrkura - Papunya Tula Artists, ReDot Gallery, Singapore
2008 TogArt Contemporary Art Award, Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs
2007 Big Paintings by Papunya Tula Artists, Utopia Art, Sydney
2007 Group Show, Jan Murphy Gallery, Brisbane
2007 Papunya Tula 2007, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
2007 Aboriginal Art 2007, Scott Livesey Galleries, Melbourne
2007 Recent Paintings 2007, Cross Cultural Art Exchange, Darwin
2007 Pintupi Art 2007, Tony Bond Aboriginal Art Dealer, Adelaide
2007 Pintupi - Mixed Exhibition, Papunya Tula Artists, Alice Springs
2006 A Particular Collection, Utopia Art, Sydney
2006 Well Represented, Utopia Art, Sydney
2006 Papunya Tula Artists - Recent Paintings, Harriet Place, Darwin
2006 Pintupi Art 2006, Tony Bond Aboriginal Art Dealer, Adelaide
2006 Melbourne Art Fair 2006, Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne
2006 Western Desert Satellites, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
2006 Papunya Tula Artists, Utopia Art, Sydney
2006 across the board, Utopia Art, Sydney
2006 Aboriginal Art 2006, Scott Livesey Gallery, Melbourne
2006 Pintupi, Hamiltons Gallery, London
2006 Pintupi Dreamtime, ReDot Gallery, Singapore
2006 Yawulyurru kapalilu palyara nintilpayi, Papunya Tula Artists, Alice Springs
2005 New Works From The Western Desert, Indigenart, Perth
2005 Pintupi Artists, Papunya Tula Artists, Alice Springs
2005 Papunya Tula Artists - new work for a new space, Utopia Art, Sydney
2005 Museum II, Utopia Art Sydney
2005 Papunya Tula Artists, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
2005 Aboriginal Art 2005, Scott Livesey Art Dealer, Melbourne
2005 Pintupi Art 2005, Tony Bond Aboriginal Art Dealer, Adelaide
2004 Melbourne Art Fair 2004, Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne
2004 Pintupi Art 2004, Tony Bond Aboriginal Art Dealer, Adelaide
2004 Papunya Tula Artists - 2004, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
2004 All About Papunya, Chapman Gallery Canberra
2004 Talking About Abstraction, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, College of Fine Arts - University of NSW, Sydney
2004 The Inner And The Outer, Stadtgalerie Bamberg, Villa Dessauer, Bamberg, Germany
2004 Aboriginal Art 2004, Scott Livesey Art Dealer, Melbourne
2004 Ma Yungu/Pass It On, Framed Gallery, Darwin
2004 Looking Closely At Country, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, College of Fine Arts - University of Sydney, NSW
2004 Pintupi Artists, Papunya Tula Artists, Alice Springs
2004 Mythology & Reality, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne
2003 Pintupi Art 2003, Tony Bond Aboriginal Art Dealer, Adelaide
2003 Aboriginal Art 2003, Scott Livesey Art Dealer, Melbourne
2003 Jan Murphy Gallery, Brisbane
2003 Masterpieces From The Western Desert, Gavin Graham Gallery, London
2003 Pintupi Artists, Papunya Tula Artists, Alice Springs
2002 The Year In Review, Utopia Art, Sydney
2002 Meridian: Focus on Contemporary Australian Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
2002 Structures of Difference, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT, USA
2002 The Year in Art. S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney
2002 Melbourne Art Fair 2002, Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne
2002 Lines II, FireWorks Gallery, Brisbane
2002 Next Generation - Aboriginal Art 2002, Art House Gallery, Sydney
2002 Paintings From Our Country, Tony Bond Aboriginal Art Dealer, Adelaide
2002 Pintupi Artists, Papunya Tula Artists, Alice Springs
2002 Aboriginal Art 2002, Scott Livesey Art Dealer, Melbourne
2002 William Mora Galleries, Melbourne
2001 Museum, Utopia Art, Sydney
2001 Dreamtime: the Dark and the Light, Kunst der Gegenwart, Sammlung Essl, Vienna, Austria
2001 AMG Gallery, Paris
2001 Palm Beach Art Fair, Palm Beach, FL, USA
2001 Papunya Tula 2001, William Mora Galleries, Melbourne
2001 Art of the Pintupi, Tony Bond Aboriginal Art Dealer, Adelaide
2001 Kintore, Kiwirrkura, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
2001 Art Aborigene, Musee Olympic, Lausanne, Switzerland
2001 Pintupi Exhibition, Papunya Tula Artists, Alice Springs
2001 Dreamtime - Contemporary Aboriginal Art, Essl Collection, Vienna, Austria
2001 In Concert, Australian Academy of Science, Canberra
2001 Aborigena, Palazzo Bricherasio, Torino, Italy
2001 Unforseen - George Tjungurrayi & Matthew Johnson, FireWorks Gallery, Brisbane
2000 Melbourne Art Fair 2000, Royal Exhibition Hall, Melbourne
2000 Papunya Tula Artists NOW, Utopia Art Sydney
2000 Papunya Tula: Genesis and Genius, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
2000 Lines, FireWorks Gallery, Brisbane
2000 Landscape, Utopia Art, Sydney
2000 Aboriginal Art Select Works, Kozminsky Gallery and Fine Art Dealers, Melbourne
2000 Aboriginal Art, Aboriginal Art Gallery Bahr, Speyer, Germany
2000 Pintupi Men, Papunya Tula Artists, Alice Springs
2000 Aboriginal Art 2000, Scott Livesey Art Dealer, Melbourne
1999 My Dreaming, Redrock Gallery, Melbourne
1999 Ab Op, Utopia Art, Sydney
1999 New Horizons 2000, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
1998 Sixth Australian Contemporary Art Fairí, Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne, VIC
1998 Culture Store, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
1998 Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
1997 Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
1997 Papunya Tula Artists, Alice Springs
1996 5th Australian Contemporary Art Fair, Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne
1996 C.A.A.A.C.E., Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs
1996 Pintupi Painters, Papunya Tula Artists Gallery, Alice Springs
1996 Museums & Art Galleries of the Northern Territory, Darwin
1996 Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
1996 Fringe Festival, Adelaide
1996 Return from the Art Fair, Utopia Art, Sydney
1995 Museums & Art Galleries of the N.T. Darwin, NT
1994 Black and White, Utopia Art, Sydney
1994 Group Show, Papunya Tula Artists, Alice Springs
1994 Groninger Museum, Groningen, The Netherlands
1994 The Pintupi, Utopia Art, Sydney
1994 Pintupi Artists, Papunya Tula Artists, Alice Springs
1994 Chapman Gallery, Canberra
1994 Galerie Australis, Adelaide
1994 Dreamtime Gallery, Broadbeach, QLD
1993 Chapman Gallery, Canberra
1992 Dreamtime Gallery, Broadbeach, QLD
1990 Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs