Country: Central and Western Desert
Language group: Warlpiri
Don Tjungurrayi was born at the Bungalow in Alice Springs Telegraph Station in Australia, the year that World War two broke out. When the government establish the community of Yuendumu, Don and his family moved there and this is where Don attended school. He was initiated near Haast’s Bluff and then began working as a stockman and fencing contractor on various stations, including Hamilton Downs. He married the widowed Entalura Nangala and moved to Papunya where he started working in the communal kitchen.
Don has been painting since the beginning of the Aboriginal Art movement, commencing in Papunya during the 1970s. Entalura, Don’s wife, was one of the first females to begin painting during the late 1980s.
In 1986 Don won the Alice Art Prize. His very beautiful paintings talk about young male’s initiation ceremony. While many ceremonies are public, Male Initiation Ceremonies are secret and strangers, young women, non initiated boys and girls would be limited in attending the sacred ceremonies. The main categories of ceremonies are; education of their sacred laws and behavioral codes and to ensure continuation of totemic species to live in harmony with the land. Aboriginal men perform the ceremonies at different times of the year. Each ceremony has to be organized, supervised and managed and the performance of each ceremony dependents the person ownership, their knowledge as well as their status. A concentric circle represents a meeting place. Ceremonies involve songs, dances and body adornment.
National Gallery Australia
Art Gallery of South Australia
Museum of Victoria
Australian Art Gallery
Queensland Art Gallery
Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory
National Gallery of Victoria
Art Bank; Queensland Art Gallery
Ebes Collection; Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs;
Homes a Court Collection
Kelton Foundation California
Kerry Stokes Collection