Lot 89
  • 89

Dinny Nolan Tjampitjinpa Born circa 1922

5,000 - 8,000 GBP
8,750 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Dinny Nolan Tjampitjinpa
  • Natural ochre and warmulu plant fibre on wood


Commissioned by Arnaud Serval in Alice Springs, Northern Territory in 2004

Private Collection, France


WAMULU, Ted Egan Tajangal, Dinny Nolan Tjampitjinpa, Johnny Possum Tjapaltjari, Annandale Galleries, Sydney, 2 March - 2 April 2005

Catalogue Note

Dinny Nolan Tjampitjinpa, a Warlpiri/Anmatyerre man was born in the Yuendemu region of the Northern Territory. He is a senior lawman and recognised leader for Rainmaking and Water Dreaming ceremonies. His first cousin or ‘brother’ was the late Kaapa Tjampitjinpa and other cousins include Tim Leura, Billy Stockman and Clifford Possum, with whom he joined the original painting group at Papunya under the guidance of Geoffrey Bardon. In 1981 Tjampitjinpa visited Sydney with Paddy Carroll Tjungurrayi to construct the first ever ground painting to be seen outside the Central Desert.

Water Dreaming 1 is part of a groundbreaking group of work commissioned by French artist and collector Arnaud Serval in Alice Springs during 2004-2005 for an exhibition at Annandale Galleries in Sydney. Created in the manner of traditional ceremonial ground paintings using wamulu, a flower which is ubiquitous in the Alice Springs area, the artists experimented and invented a way of transforming their traditional ceremonial ground paintings into permanent and portable artworks. The paintings were created using wamulu which, after being harvested, was laid in the sun for a number of days and, once dried, chopped using hachets into a finer matter. The wamulu was then mixed with natural ochre and a binder, and applied onto prepared boards.

Bill Gregory, the Director of Annandale Galleries, in the accompanying online notes to the exhibition wrote, “The artist who owns the story, the "boss" then applies the designs directly to the board while the others look on - often singing the story as this is done. The last step is to apply the Wamulu roughly to the design and producing a work with the same texture and feel as a ceremonial ground painting. This last part is entirely communal. Therefore, the artists to whom the paintings are attributed is the artist who owns the story but the process in general is shared by all apart from the initial application in ochre of the design. The images come from ground painting as well as body paint designs. The process is extremely labour intensive and requires both skill and patience for the lengthy process of producing the finished artwork as images are not brushed on but rather built up... The process had a ritualistic air about it, full of memory… and there was a sense of communicating through the story with their ancestors. Particularly in the first couple of hours the artists were entirely focused and often in what appeared to me to be in a near trance. As the work progressed and the job of applying the medium became more taxing physically, the singing became more sporadic but the sense of a meditative, communal process was continuous. I was deeply impressed by the authenticity of the project. At no time were the artists pressed to do the work, there was no time frame for execution or completion and the work was done only when the artists were ready according to their own inner time.”