This painting is accompanied by a Stuart Art Centre field note, with a drawing describing the work and numbered 19353.
In 1971, Uta Uta Tjangala was one of the original group of artists that initiated the revolution in Australian Aboriginal desert painting at the community of Papunya, some 200 miles west of Alice Springs. He was a member of the Pintupi group, the last to be brought in to the government run settlement under a policy of assimilation of Aboriginal people into Australian society. Pintupi lands lie hundreds of miles west of Papunya and they were considered to be the most esoteric of the western desert peoples. Uta Uta was a man of high ritual status and deep ancestral knowledge that provided the basis for his influence on other Pintupi painters. He created some of the great masterpieces of the modern Western Desert painting movement, including the monumental canvas Old Man’s Dreaming, 1983, now in the collection of the Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, that was shown in the exhibition Australia at the Royal Academy in 2013 2.
For related paintings made during the early 1970s see Medicine Story, 1971, in the John and Barbara Wilkerson Collection in Benjamin, R and A.C. Weislogel 2009, pp.88-9, catalogue number 83; and Old Man (Yina) Dreaming, 1972, in Bardon and Bardon 2004, p.305, painting 247 4 and in Ryan and Batty 2011, p.1385.
1. Myers, F.R., Painting Culture: The Making of an Aboriginal High Art, Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2002, pp.112-3. For a discussion of Uta Uta (Wuta Wuta) Tjangala’s Yumari paintings, see also f. Myers, ‘Aesthetic function and practice: A local art history of Pintupi paintings’ in Morphy, H. and M. Smith Boles (eds.), Art from the Land: Dialogues with the Kluge-Ruhe collection of Australian Aboriginal art, Charlottesville: University of Virginia, 1999,
2. See Gray, A, R. Radford, K. Soriano et al Australia, London: Royal Academy of Arts, 2013, pp.66-7, plate 20.
3. Benjamin, R and A.C. Weislogel (eds.), Icons of the Desert: Early Aboriginal Paintings from Papunya, New York: Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, 2009.
4. Bardon, G. and J. Bardon, Papunya, A Place Made After the Story: The Beginnings of the Western Desert Painting Movement, Melbourne: The Miegunyah Press, 2004.
5. Ryan, J. and P. Batty, Tjukurrtjanu: Origins of Western Desert art, Melbourne: National Gallery of Victoria, 2011.
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