Location: Nynmi (Jupiter Well)
Language Group: Kukatja
Mediums: Acrylic paint on canvas and linen
Themes: Piparr country (his mother's country), Nynmi
country (his father's country), Tingari, soakwaters.
Helicopter learnt from an early age the location
of water sources and how to hunt for bush food. He is a maparn
(traditional healer) and people travel long distances to see
him for treatment and healing. In the early 1990s he painted
with his wife (recently deceased), but since 1995 has painted
independently in a distinctive linear style that radiates from
the central feature of a soakwater. He is dedicated to painting
his country and that of his parents where he lived a nomadic
life as a young boy. He also uses the kinti-kinti style
of dotting pioneered by his wife but works with a different
range of colours combined with the more flowing linear elements.
Helicopter was given his name as a result of
an accident in the 1960s when he became seriously ill and was
collected by a flying doctor using the first helicopter seen
in the area. In 2008 the retired helicopter pilot was fascinated to find that the young boy he has rescued in the 1960s had grown to become one of Balgo's leading artists - the story is toild in the article Joy for Jim as helicopter kid turns up 50 years on.
|Born: c.1930 deceased 2003
Location: Wilkinkarra near Lake Mackay
Language: Kukatja and Warlpiri
Mediums: acrylic paint on canvas and linen
Themes: Wati Kutjarra (two mythical goanna men);
soakwaters, rainmaking; warran (claypan) and tali (parallel
sand dunes); kurrawarri (sacred dreaming); lingka - snake;
Sam was a senior law man in the Balgo community
and his paintings were mainly concerned with the secret and sacred
sites of men's ceremonial business. He spent most of his early
life around Gulgunpa, near Lake Mackay and he became a senior
custodian for large tracts of land in this area. When Sam was
still a young man he walked into the original Balgo Mission,
Tjumundu, with his father. Sam recalled tending to the goats
and shearing the sheep at the mission. He told how they enjoyed
the meat from the mission as against the game of the desert.
Sam started painting with the arrival of the art coordinator
Michael Rae at Warlayirti Artists. This was a time when many
of the senior men of Balgo began to paint. Since that time Sam
diligently painted his country and the sacred law
associated with it. He was a natural brother of one of Balgo's greatest artists,
Sunfly who is also deceased.
Born: c.1929 deceased 2007
Location: Muruwarr, north of Kiwirkurra
Language: Kukatja, Pintupi
Mediums: Professional acrylic paint on canvas and linen
Themes: Water, rainmaking, soaks; Wati Kutjarra (Two
Men Dreaming); Rainbow snakes; Bandicoot, flying ant, dingo
spirit, kangaroo; Tingari
Tjumpo was a senior law man, a maparn (healer) and a
respected speaker for his community. He was very fit and strong
for his age and he attributed this to his diet of bush food.
He spole enthusiastically of his childhood in the desert hunting
for goanna, echidna, wallaby, wild cat, and the construction
of spinifex and mud shelters for the wet season. He came to
Balgo as a result of the local priest, Father Alphonse, sending
people out into the bush with supplies of flour, sugar and tea
to attract Aboriginal people to the Mission. Shortly afterwards,
in 1948, a large group of people came in to live at the Old
Mission at Tjumuntora. Tjumpo began painting in 1986.
He was very sociable and loved to meander and chat between painting.
An inventive painter, Tjumpo's work varied from monumental
works incorporating contrasting visual motifs, to more tightly
woven smaller pieces. Tjumpo adapted easily to the process
of painting on acetates and his silkscreen is one of the prints
featured on this Website.
Location: Milnga-Milnga near Sturt Creek
Boxer is a well respected community elder and successful painter
living in Kururrungku Community, also known as Billiluna, near
Sturt Creek. He is a Tjaru speaker from country north of Balgo.
He and his two brothers are custodians for the country and
the stories of the Sturt Creek area. Boxer's paintings depict
different physical and Dreaming aspects of the middle and upper
stretches of Sturt Creek. He often depicts the flooding of the
creek, and the changes to the country this brings, both during
the flooding and after the water starts to recede.
The area of Milnga-Milnga, where Boxer was born, is a major
flood plain for Sturt Creek and is inundated every summer after
the rains. The artist's family, who have always lived here,
'look after' the area by keeping its associated Law and ceremonies.
A significant portrayal of the water in Boxer's paintings of
Sturt Creek is white, depicting the 'milk water' which runs
after rain has fallen in the clay soils upstream of Billiluna.
His work includes wonderful rainbows, rain clouds and the temporary
creeks that are formed during the wet season, as well as distinctive
portrayals of eucalyptus trees in the area.
He has participated in numerous group exhibitions since the
early 1990s, has held several solo shows, and his work is represented
in a number of major public and private collections. He is undoubtedly
one of Balgo's most respected artists. Unfortunately he has been in poorer health in recent years and is not painting actively any more.
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