masthead logo
email webmanager facebook | twitter | google+ | flickr | contacts | 


ON DISPLAY
LVL 1

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art
Early Western Desert Paintings 1971-1974 gallery

See nearby items (accurate to +/- 12 hrs)

Mick NAMARARI TJAPALTJARRI

Pintupi people

Australia 1926 – 1998

Sunrise chasing away the night
[Sunrise chasing away the night] 1977-78

  • central black circle, black shape along left edge, white arc on right edge.
Papunya, Western Desert, Northern Territory, Australia
paintings, synthetic polymer paint on composition board
Technique: synthetic polymer paint on composition board
40.0 h x 60.0 w cm
Purchased 1997
Accession No: NGA 97.110
© the estate of the artist licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency Ltd

MORE DETAIL

  • Rising sun chasing the night away and Moon Dreaming form part of a series of paintings about the artist’s Moon Dreaming, which he produced for the 1978 film, Mick and the moon. Namarari was one of the key early members of the painting movement that commenced in the early 1970s at Papunya. He went on to paint impressive larger works on canvas in the ensuing decades and is represented in numerous Australian and international collections.

    Rising sun chasing the night away reflects the night’s phases and the sunrise over the landscape. The usual depiction of the landscape in desert paintings is topographical, as though the viewer were looking down from above onto the land. Here, Namarari takes this way of representation to extraordinary lengths, demonstrating the Pintupi sense of perspective, where the point of view incorporates a larger cosmology: looking down from the heavens through the stars, past the rising sun and the night onto the campfires burning on the plain below. As the night fades from the left of the picture, the sun on the right casts the dawn light over the landscape. The white dots are painted stones, the central roundel represents a ceremonial ground.

    Moon Dreaming is again a visually rich topographical representation of the Dreaming and associated landscape. The large circular moon, in varied grades of orange, takes prominent position on the board. It exerts it presence on the surrounding landscape bathing it in a lighter orange hue. The dark shapes are representations of stone axes and ceremonial objects.

    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

  • This paintingreflects the night’s phases and the sunrise over the landscape. The usual depiction of the landscape in desert paintings is in plan view, as though the viewer were looking down from above onto the land. Here, Namarari takes this way of representation to extraordinary lengths, demonstrating the Pintupi sense of perspective, where the point of view incorporates a larger cosmology – looking down from the heavens through the stars, past the rising sun and the night onto the campfires burning on the plain below. As the night fades from the left of the picture, the sun on the right casts the dawn light over the landscape. The white dots are painted stones, whilst the central roundel represents a ceremonial ground.

    This work is a part of a series of paintings about the artist’s Moon Dreaming, which he produced for the 1978 film, Mick and Moon. One of the key early members of the painting movement, which commenced in the early 1970s at Papunya, west of Alice Springs, Namarari went on to paint impressive larger works on canvas in the ensuing decades and was represented in numerous Australian and international collections.

    Works made at Papunya challenged public perceptions of contemporary Aboriginal art. For the first time, the rich visual languages of the desert were painted in synthetic paints on flat, portable boards and made available to the general public. Today, art from numerous communities in the Western Desert region is renowned throughout Australia and internationally.

    This small work is an excellent example of early Papunya painting on boards and a precursor to larger, more recent works on canvas. It was commissioned by Geoffrey Bardon who, as a teacher at the Papunya school, was a catalyst in the painting movement in the early 1970s.

    Susan Jenkins, 2002


    Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
    From: Anne Gray (ed), Australian art in the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2002

  • Description

    This is a painting by Pintupi artist Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri (1926-1998) depicting the night and the sunrise over the landscape. The painting is shown as an enlargeable image. Text onscreen gives information on the visual symbolism of the work, describing the enhanced topographical perspective of the painting and explaining the context of the work and the artist, elaborating on the series Moon Dreaming and on Papunya Western Desert painting. The painting measures 40.0 cm high x 60.0 cm wide and was painted with synthetic polymer paint on composition board.

    Educational value

    • This resource is excellent for the Responding strand in the years 7 and 8 visual arts curriculum, especially for those content descriptions that refer to considering the broader context of works of art, such as their social, cultural and historical context. It may also be useful for teachers of history in year 3 and 4 particular in relation to content descriptions about the importance of connection to Country for Aboriginal peoples as the work documents important ceremonial ground.
    • The work is of considerable significance for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures cross-curriculum priority. It exemplifies Aboriginal people’s special connection to Country and the celebration of the unique belief systems that spiritually connect people to land, sea, sky and waterways. The resource also connects to another organising idea: Australia acknowledges the significant contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people locally and globally. Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri was an integral member of the renowned Papunya Western Desert painting movement.

    Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010