Kalipinypa Rain Dreaming
Kalipinypa Rain Dreaming

Long Jack Phillipus Tjakamarra

1932 - 2020 Kalipinypa Rain Dreaming 1972
  • synthetic polymer paint on composition board
119 cm x 122 cm

A yardman at the Papunya School, Long Jack Phillipus Tjakamarra was one of first members of what would become known as the Men's Painting group. In 1971, he and other Aboriginal staff at the school had watched with keen interest as Art teacher, Geoffrey Bardon, began a mural project with the children, and were inspired to create several murals of their own. Amongst them were Long Jack Phillipus and Billy Stockman's The Widow's Dreaming, and perhaps the most significant work, the Honey Ant mural conceptualised by Kaapa Tjampitjinpa. Papunya's Superintendent at the time, Laurie Owens, was a great supporter of this artistic endeavour and acknowledged its importance, seemingly prescient of the significance of the Western Desert Painting movement that was to come: "Traditional painting using dreaming symbols has created an artistic movement amongst a certain group on the Settlement...the school may well prove to be a focus of a very generally felt artistic awakening among the population here and it seems that the product will have a very unique character and identification with Papunya". 1

Following the success of the murals, and with Kaapa a driving force and Geoffrey Bardon's continued involvement, the Men's Painting Room was eventually established with Long Jack as one of its most enthusiastic founding members. Bardon established a relationship with Pat Hogan, owner of the Stuart Art Centre, Alice Springs, through which the Papunya boards would be promoted and sold. Untitled (Kalipinypa), 1972 is painting 141 of the 19th consignment to the Stuart Art Centre. Kalipinypa is Long Jack's birthplace, located in his mother's country, and was "the claypan site of an immense ancestral storm that occasioned rain, hail, thunder, lightning and flood".2 He shares custodial ties to this major Water Dreaming site with Johnny Warangkula in whose ouevre Kalipinypa features heavily. Incorporating a similar palette and iconography as the National Gallery of Australia's Kalipinypa Water Dreaming, c.1972, this monumental example also "uses the ground painting designs for Water or Rain Dreamings: the set of...clusters of roundels joined by parallel meanders running vertically down the picture. Tjakamarra's musk pink and red, which relates to ceremonial paint, ends this work a visual subtlety...The much needed rains [at Kalipinypa] fill the interconnecting creeks and rockholes. This abundant water in turn transforms the countryside, creating new growth across the lands and ensuing the ongoing cycle of life."3


1. Luke Scholes (ed), Tjungunutja: From Having Come Together, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin, 2017, pp.130-131

2. Judith Ryan and Philip Batty et al, Origins of Western Desert Art: Tjukurrtjanu, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2011, p. 93

3. Franchesca Cubillo and Wally Caruana (eds), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art: collection highlights, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2010, p.37 (illus.)


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The Wesfarmers Collection of Australian Art acknowledges all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Traditional Custodians of Country and recognises their continuing connection to land, sea, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

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