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Pintupi/Luritja peoples

Australia 1918 /1922 – 2001

Rain Dreaming at Kalipinypa [Three Streams at Jikarri (No.42)] 1973
Collection Title: The Peter Fannin Collection of Early Western Desert Paintings
Place made: Papunya, Western Desert, Northern Territory, Australia
Materials & Technique: paintings, synthetic polymer paint on composition board

Dimensions: 45.0 h x 65.0 w cm
Acknowledgement: The Peter Fannin Collection of Early Western Desert Paintings, 1998
Accession No: NGA 98.90

The major Water Dreaming site at Kalipinypa was one of Johnny WarangkulaTjupurrula’s favourite subjects and the country over which he had inherited authority. Its significance to him is attested to by the sheer number of paintings he made of the site and its associated narratives. Kalipinypa is of immense ancestral and practical importance to the Pintupi as it is a place where great storms occur, the rains are heavy and the stony nature of the ground captures and retains freshwater for considerable periods of time. It is also a place abundant in natural resources and bush foods.

In the early years of the Papunya painting movement, Tjupurrula developed a distinct painterly approach in his works depicting Kalipinypa. In paintings such as this, the tumultuous energies of storms, sweeping rains, the flashes of lightning and crash of thunder, and the currents of water flowing over the earth are expressed by free-flowing, rhythmic forms and the fields of dotting and stippling that enliven the picture surface. The sacred nature of the land is also alluded to through the inclusion of images of ceremonial objects.

The stippled areas in the painting refer to the wild raisin, kampurarrpa, which is abundant in the area and with which the artist has a totemic association, thus reinforcing his connection to the country he depicts. The tracks of the Egret Kalwa, who was struck by lightning, are also depicted, leading into the centre of the composition and out again.

Franchesca Cubillo

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Franchesca Cubillo and Wally Caruana (eds) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art: collection highlights National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2010