Patrick Tjungurrayi was born at Yalangerri near Jupiter Well in Western Australia. After coming in from the desert in the late 1970's Tjungurrayi began painting for the Warlayirti Artists in Balgo, NT. He later moved to Kiwikurra and painted for Papunya Tula artists.
Patrick Tjungurrayi was a senior law man and was responsible for upholding the traditional ceremonies for the country around Balgo, Kiriwrrkurra and Kintore. Before he passed away in 2017 he lived in the Pintupi community of Kintore, NT.
Tjungurrayi began painting in 1986 with works included in the major survey exhibition Papunya Tula: Genesis and Genius shown at the Art Gallery of NSW. His works attracted strong interest for their unique combination of Kiwirrkura and Balgo styles and highly distinctive colours. His patterns and stories associated with the Western desert Pintupi artists are enhanced by the thick application of paint more associated with the Balgo artists. Tjungurrayi’s paintings relate to the events of the Tingari sites from which he has inherited his dreaming stories and the travels of the ancestors. He often incorporates the ceremonial design of Wanawarra (rainbow snake).
Tjungarrayi became a great advocate for health access for the residents of the Western Desert communities. His paintings, along with the work of other artists working in Kintore and Kiwikurra, were auctioned at the AGNSW, raising just over a million Australian dollars to fund a traveling dialysis truck. This truck is now decorated with Patrick Tjungurrayi's painting on one side. His work, both artistic and in health, has been featured in a book by anthropologist and art historian, John Carty and is currently featured in the purple House exhibition on the ground floor of the AGNSW.
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