George Ward Tjungurrayi

George Ward Tjungurrayi

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DOB: c.1945
Born: Lararra, Tjukurla, WA
LANGUAGE GROUP: Pintupi
COMMUNITY: Warakurna, WA


George Ward Tjungurrayi was born near the site of Lararra, southeast of Kiwirrkura circa 1945. George Ward is the youngest of three brothers; the late Yala Yala Gibbs (founding member of the Papunya art movement and senior custodian of secret/sacred men business) and Willy Tjungurrayi (one of the most sought after painters of the Western Desert). They were all sons of Pulpalpulpalnga Tjapaltjarri, but had different mothers.

George's father died while he was still very young. It was only in his teenage years that he first encountered Europeans, when Jeremy Long's Welfare Branch patrol came upon his family camped by a desert waterhole. After travelling to the government settlement at Papunya - first home of the desert painting movement - Ward worked briefly as a fencer and a butcher in the community kitchen. He also met and married his wife, the somewhat formidable Nyungawarra Ward Napurrula (the daughter of Charlie Ward Tjakamarra), a member of one of the desert's most dominant families. They have two children.

Once their first child was born, the couple moved west to Warburton, then on through the ranges to Docker River and to Warakurna. In 1981 George and his family moved to the newly established Pintupi capital of Walungurru (Kintore) which is across the NT border, in the looming shadow of Mount Leisler.

George observed the work of his brothers Yala Yala and Willy Tjungurrayi, who were among Papunya Tula's leading artists in Walungurru. In 1984 George Ward first painted on canvas: a handful of elegantly 'classical' concentric roundel works from that time survive. After the death of his brother Yala Yala in 1998 the responsibility to paint fell squarely on Ward's shoulders. By this stage, he was a senior desert man: He lived deep in the world of law. He began to paint in earnest, developing his own distinct style. The canvases he began producing for Alice Springs-based Papunya Tula artists were like nothing else that had come before in the desert art movement: sombre, cerebral, full of grave intellect.

The big lake site of Kaakuratintja (Lake Macdonald), which a large group of Tingari men travelled through on their way east, is often the subject of his paintings. His meticulous geometric drawing is often offset by more rapid, shaking dotting to produce a shimmering surface. In 2004 George won the prestigious 2004 Wynne Prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. George has exhibited in many galleries throughout the past decade.

George Ward is a reticent and silent Western Desert man. These character traits can cause the odd practical problem, now that he has become one of the nation's most admired and most keenly collected artists. He's not at home in English; sees no merit in photographs; is uneasy in big, bustling towns like Alice Springs. "I'm a bush man, me," he insists, with a distinct, proud edge in his voice.

Collections

  • National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
  • Artbank, Sydney
  • Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
  • Groninger Museum, Groningen
  • Museum of Victoria, Melbourne
  • Robert Holmes a Court Collection, Perth
  • Supreme Court of the Northern Territory, Darwin
  • The Luczo Family Collection, USA
  • Kaplan and Levi Collection, Seattle
  • Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
  • Musee des Arts d'Afrique et d'Oceanie, Paris
  • National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
  • Charles Darwin University, Darwin
  • Seattle Art Museum, Seattle
  • Corrigan Collection, Sydney

Awards and Recognition

2004 Wynne Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney - Winner
2003 20th NATSIAA, Darwin - Finalist
2003 Desert Mob, Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs - Finalist

History

Selected Solo Exhibitions:

2010 George Ward Tjungurrayi, Trevor Victor Harvey Gallery, Sydney
2005 George Ward Tjungurrayi, Clarence Gallery, London
1998 Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
1997 Utopia Art, Sydney, Sydney

Selected Group Exhibitions:

2020 Pintupi Masters - Enduring Dreamings, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2019 Matches 6: Three clusters, FireWorks Gallery, Brisbane
2019 Defining Tradition: the first wave & its disciples, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2019 Pintupi Artists of the Western Desert, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle, WA
2017 Community VIII, Utopia Art Sydney
2015 Community VII, Utopia Art, Sydney
2015 Sydney Contemporary 2015, Carriageworks, Sydney
2015 Wynners, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2013 Community V, Utopia Art Sydney
2012 Ancestral Modern: Australian Aboriginal Art from the Kaplan & Levi Collection, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle
2012 Community IV: Celebrating Forty Years of Papunya Tula Artists, Utopia Art, Sydney
2012 Unique Perspectives: Papunya Tula Artists and the Alice Springs Community, Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs
2011 40 years of Papunya Tula Art, Utopia Art, Sydney
2011 Papunya Tula Artists, Community III, Utopia Art, Sydney
2010 Stories from the Centre, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2010 Ngurra Kutju Ngurrara, Belonging To One Country, ReDot Gallery, Singapore
2009 Community, The Heart of Papunya Tula Artists, Utopia Art, Sydney
2008 David Larwill and the Western Desert Artists, Stephan Weiss Studio, New York
2008 Aboriginal Art 2008, Scott Livesey Galleries, Melbourne
2007 Papunya Tula, Short Street Gallery, Broome
2007 Big Paintings by Papunya Tula Artists, Utopia Art, Sydney
2007 Turning 20, Utopia Art, Sydney
2007 Aboriginal Art 2007, Scott Livesey Galleries, Melbourne
2007 Master Work From Papunya Tula, Birrung Gallery, Sydney
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 Melbourne Art Fair, Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne
2006 Western Desert Satellites, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
2006 Right Here, Right Now: Recent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Acquisitions, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
2006 Papunya Tula Artists 2006, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
2006 across the board, Utopia Art, Sydney
2006 Group Show, John Gordon Gallery, Coffs Harbour
2006 Pintupi, Hamiltons Gallery, London
2006 Bits and Pieces - abstract art, Utopia Art, Sydney
2006 Aboriginal Art 2006, Scott Livesey Galleries, Melbourne
2006 Pintupi, Hamiltons Gallery, London
2006 Melbourne Art Fair, Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne
2006 Papunya Tula Artists - Recent Paintings, Harriet Place, Darwin
2006 Pintupi Dreamtime, Red Dot Gallery, Singapore
2006 Paintings by Papunya Tula Artists, Suzanne O'Connell Gallery, Brisbane
2006 Yawulyurru kapalilu palyara nintilpayi, Papunya Tula Artists, Alice Springs
2005 New Works From The Western Desert, Indigenart, Perth
2005 Pintupi Show, Papunya Tula Artists, Alice Springs
2005 Papunya Tula Artists - new work for a new space', Utopia Art, Sydney
2005 Strongly and Stately, Red Dot Gallery, Singapore
2005 New Ideas 2005, Utopia Art, Sydney
2005 Papunya Tula Artists, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
2005 Aboriginal Vision in Contemporary Australian Art, Wright Exhibition Space, Seattle, Collection of Margaret Levi & Robert Kaplan
2005 Pintupi Art 2005, Tony Bond Aboriginal Art Dealer, Adelaide
2005 Aboriginal Art 2005, Scott Livesey Gallery, Melbourne
2005 Papunya Tula - New Paintings From The Kintore Kiwirrkurra Region, John Gordon Gallery, Coffs Harbour
2004 Papunya Tula - Selected Paintings, William Mora Galleries, Melbourne
2004 Depth of Field - Anamorphosis, Utopia Art, Sydney
2004 Binocular: looking closely at Country, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, College of Fine Arts, University
of NSW, Sydney
2004 Pintupi Art 2004, Tony Bond Aboriginal Art Dealer, Adelaide
2004 Works from Kintore and Kiwirrkurra, Alison Kelly Gallery, Melbourne
2004 All About Papunya, Chapman Gallery, Canberra
2004 Talking About Abstraction, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, College of Fine Arts, University of NSW, Sydney
2004 Aboriginal Art 2004, Scott Livesey Gallery, Melbourne
2004 Ma Yung/ Pass It On, Framed Gallery, Darwin
2004 Melbourne Art Fair, Melbourne
2004 Papunya Tula Artists 2004, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
2004 Pintupi Artists, Papunya Tula Artists, Alice Springs
2003 Pintupi Art 2003, Tony Bond Aboriginal Art Dealer, Adelaide
2003 Papunya Tula Selected Paintings, William Mora Galleries, Melbourne
2003 Ab Op II, Utopia Art, Sydney
2003 The Desert Mob Art Show, Araluen Centre, Alice Springs
2003 Kintore-Kiwirrkurra, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
2003 Pintupi Art From The Western Desert, Indigenart, Perth
2003 Masterpieces of the Western Desert, Gavin Graham Gallery, London
2003 Papunya Tula Artists - A Gift from the Desert, Utopia Art, Sydney
2003 Pintupi Artists, Papunya Tula Artists, Alice Springs
2003 Framed Gallery, Darwin
2002 Pintupi Artists, Papunya Tula Artists, Alice Springs
2001 Palm Beach Art Fair, Palm Beach, FL, USA
2001 Kintore and Kiwirrkurra, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
2001 Art of the Pintupi, Adelaide
2000 Pintupi Men, Papunya Tula Artists, Alice Springs
2000 Papunya Tula: Genesis and Genius, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
2000 Art of the Aborigines, Leverkusen
1999 Aboriginal Art, IHK, Wurzburg
1998 The Desert Mob Show, Araluen Centre for the Arts, Alice Springs
1997 Papunya Tula Artists, Alice Springs
1997 Geschichtenbilder, Aboriginal Art Galerie Buhr, Speyer
1997 Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
1996 Papunya Tula Artists, Alice Springs
1996 Nangara, The Australian Aboriginal Art Exhibition, Brugge
1996 Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin
1996 Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
1996 Araluen Centre for the Arts, Alice Springs
1996 Adelaide Fringe Festival, Papunya Tula Artists, Adelaide
1995 Papunya Tula Artists, Alice Springs
1995 Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin
1995 Dreamings - Tjukurrpa, Groninger Museum, Groningen
1993 Dreamtime Gallery, Broadbeach, QLD
1992 Dreamtime Gallery, Broadbeach, QLD
1991 Araluen Centre for the Arts, Alice Springs, Australia
1990 Friendly Country - Friendly People, Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs
1990 The Isaacs Gallery, Toronto, Canada