Kinship:

Art of Australia

March 5 - 28, 2021

CLIFFORD POSSUM TJAPALTJARRI (c. 1935/40-2002)

Men's Maliyarre (Initiation) Ceremony, 1999

Acrylic on linen

48 x 60 inches

Signed dated verso: Clifford Possum / 1999

Clifford Possum Tjapaljarri Ceremony .jp

CLIFFORD POSSUM TJAPALTJARRI

Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri was born in roughly 1932 and  is one of the most popular Aboriginal artists by collectors to this day. He was creating work before the Papunya Tula Movement, and his paintings stand out greatly from the many who also create within this style. Clifford is considered to be an artist who has brought together the worlds of Aboriginal Art and Contemporary Australian Art throughout his career, and has been recognized internationally for such accomplishments. He passed away in 2002 and was survived by his two daughters who are also artists.

MAKINTI NAPANANGKA (c. 1930-2011)

Lupulnga, 2004

Acrylic on linen

42 1/8 x 35 7/8 inches

Bears the artist's name, dimensions and Papunya Tula Artists catalogue number MN0409085 on reverse

MAKINTI NAPANANGKA at LaiSun Keane

MAKINTI NAPANANGKA

Makinti Napanangka was born in the Western Desert region of Australia as a member of the Pintupi indigenous group around the year 1930. Makinti started painting through a community project in the 1990s and her curiosity and interest grew into a successful painting career as her work is widely shown in Australia and internationally. She was a part of the Papunya Tula Artists Cooperative, and she particularly stood out as an independent artist. After her death in 2011, she has been often referred to as Kumentje, a name given to her due to the tradition of her indigenous community not referring to the deceased by their original names.

George Hairbrush Tjungurrayi (c. 1943)

Tingari, 2016

Acrylic on linen

39 x 62 1/4 inches

Bears the artist's name, title, dimensions and Mimi Art Gallery catalogue number 9600 on reverse

GEORGE HAIRBRUSH TJUNGURRAYI at LaiSunkeane.com

GEORGE HAIRBRUSH TJUNGURRAYI

George Hairbrush Tjungurrayi was born around 1943 in the Gibson Desert of Western Australia and is known to be one of the original artists of the Aboriginal Art Movement. As a catalyst to the Papunya Art Movement and Aboriginal Art Movement, a mural that was painted on a school wall involved many in the community who eventually became painters. He began painting in 1976 when he was an apprentice for other artists and was encouraged to begin his own practice. George developed his own style through painting about his culture and drawing inspiration from traditional body paint. George became an incredibly sought-after artist by the late 1990s. His nickname “Hairbrush” derived from his wild hair that often appeared to need a brushing.

MITJILI NAPURRULA (c. 1945-2019)
Watiya, 2018
Acrylic on linen 39 x 73 1/4 inches
Bears artist’s name, title, dimensions and Mimi Art Gallery catalogue number 16633 on reverse

MITJILI NAPURRULA at laisunkeane.com

MITJILI NAPURRULA

Mitjili Napurrula was born into a family that was important to the indigenous group of Papunya in roughly 1945. She started painting in 1993 with the Ikuntji Women’s Centre from the encouragement of her family. Her most frequent motif in her work is the watiya tjuta, (Acacia Trees) and they came from drawings that her mother used to create while also being inspired by the land of her father’s country Uwalki.  Mitjili became internationally known for her use of bold colors in her graphic style to tell the stories of her people. She passed away in 2019 and is a prominent figure in Australian Aboriginal art.

MINNIE PWERLE (1915-2006) 

Awelye Atnwengerrp, 2001

Acrylic on linen
35 1/2 x 47 5/8 inches

Bears artist’s name, title and Dacou
Gallery inventory number DG03802 on reverse

MINNIE PWERLE at laisunkeane.com

MINNIE PWERLE 

(also known as Minnie Purla or Minnie Motorcar Apwerl)

Minnie Pwerle was born in Utopia, Northern territory in roughly 1915 and began her artistic career at about the age of 80 in 2000. In her short time of making work, she became an incredibly popular Aboriginal artist. Her paintings were so sought-after that she was allegedly kidnapped as a means for collectors to acquire her work. Throughout her career and to this day, Minnie’s work represents a generation of older artists with limited education and individuals who potentially experience poverty. Her paintings are bright, captivating, and have a spontaneous spirit. She continued to paint up until two days before she passed away in 2006. 

CLIFFORD POSSUM TJAPALTJARRI (c. 1935/40-2002) Worm Dreaming Napperby, 1996
Acrylic on canvas
43 3/4 x 20 inches

Signed and dated verso

CLIFFORD POSSUM TJAPALTJARRI at laisunkeane.com

CLIFFORD POSSUM TJAPALTJARRI

Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri was born in roughly 1932 and  is one of the most popular Aboriginal artists by collectors to this day. He was creating work before the Papunya Tula Movement, and his paintings stand out greatly from the many who also create within this style. Clifford is considered to be an artist who has brought together the worlds of Aboriginal Art and Contemporary Australian Art throughout his career, and has been recognized internationally for such accomplishments. He passed away in 2002 and was survived by his two daughters who are also artists.

WALANGKURA NAPANANGKA (c. 1946-2014)

Untitled, 2004
Acrylic on linen
48 x 24 inches

Bears the artist’s name, dimensions and Papunya Tula Arts catalogue number WN0403082 on reverse

WALANGKURA NAPANANGKA at laisunkeane.com

WALANGKURA NAPANANGKA 
Walangkura Napanangka was born west of Kintore by the borders of Western Australia and Northern Territory in 1946. At a young age her and her family traveled hundreds of kilometres on foot to live in a less remote environment, eventually moving into the Kintore community. In Kintore, she participated in a collaborative painting retreat in 1994 with many other women including Tjunkiya Napaltjarri which produced a large body of work about spirituality and ancestry. The women from this project became full-time artists and contributed greatly to the Papunya Tula movement. Walangkura Napanangka became one of the most prominent figures of this movement.

TJUNKIYA NAPALTJARRI (1927-2009) 

Untitled, 2001
Acrylic on linen
48 x 24 inches

The artist’s name, dimensions and Papunya Tula Artists catalogue number TN0102103 on reverse

TJUNKIYA NAPALTJIRRA at laisunkeane.com

TJUNKIYA NAPALTJARRI

(also known as Tjunkiya Kamayi, Tjungkiya, Tunkaii Napaltari, Kowai or Kamayi)

Tjunkiya Napaltjarri was born in Kitore, Northern Territory near the border of Western Australia in approximately 1927. Her husband, Toba Tjakamarra was the father of Turkey Tolson Tjupurrula, an incredibly important figure in the art movement called Papunya Tula. Tjunkiya had ten children, and many of them painted and contributed to this art movement. 


Tjunkiya came to painting through the Women’s Dreaming project in the 1990s. With many women including Walangkura Napanangka, she took part in a painting retreat in 1994 which resulted in a large body of collaborative work. She painted and performed greatly in collaboration after this time, much with her sister Wintjiya. Tjunkiya was painting and creating alongside her sister up until the final years of her life before she passed in 2009.

CHARLIE GUNBUNA (Australian, b. 1932) 

The Queen Fish - Charlie’s Totem, n.d.
Oil paint on bark
6 x 16.75 inches

Signed and titled on label verso

CHARLIE GUNBUNA at laisunkeane.com

Press Release

LaiSun Keane is opening a Pop-Up space in 460C Harrison Ave Unit C1  Boston MA to showcase a special exhibition of Australian Aboriginal Art. The exhibition is open from March 5 to March 28 with First Friday Reception held on Friday March 5 from 6 pm to 8pm. 

Australian Aboriginal Art is rooted in kinship. The first people of Australia have lived on the continent for at least 50,000 years and their connection to the land is well established before the arrival of White colonizers in 1788. The system of communication through Dreamtime depicted in the works in this exhibition tells these stories. The ancient rituals of body decoration, sand drawing, wood carving, and ceremony, are presented in these contemporary canvas paintings. These paintings carry important narratives of survival strategies, histories, map of countries, formation of physical and spiritual environments passed down from generations yet disguised in abstract patterns to protect their secret and sacred meanings.

We are pleased to present paintings by renown artists Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri (1935-2002), Makinti Napanangka (1930-2011), Minnie Pwerle (1920-2006), Walangkura Napanangkura (1940-2014), Tjunkiya Napaltjarri (1927-2009), Mitjili Napurrula (1945-2019), George Hairbrush Tjungurrayi (1943-) and Charlie Gunbuna (1932-1996). 

These artists have been shown extensively in Australia and the USA, and most recently two of these artists had works at Gagosian’s acclaimed 2019 exhibition, Desert Painters of Australia. Actor Steve Martin who exhibited his collection with Gagosian said, “Aboriginal art can live in the Museum of Modern Art without a special designation.” 

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