Ronnie Tjampitjinpa

loud and clear

28 March - 25 April 2015

exhibition essay

Ronnie Tjampitjinpa was a young man in 1971 when the new art movement was forming at Papunya. He was there amidst the scraps of masonite and school paints that for the first time transformed ephemeral indigenous imagery into paintings the like of which the world had never seen.

There is no doubt that these early painters were revolutionaries, pioneers, taking their culture into the 20th century, proudly, bravely and with purpose.

In this early phase Tjampitjinpa tried his hand, and successfully, but it was not until the eighties that he began to engage fully and start painting seriously. There was a sense of bravado about his work, well informed by his activism to claim, and return to, his traditional lands, which he did in 1983.

What emerged over the next decade were canvasses that were confident and forthright. They were unmistakably informed by Tjampitjinpa's rich Pintupi heritage, but at the same time these were striking new works. Tjampitjinpa's direct linear pattern, the grids, the organic geometry, the scale and colour were
uncannily resonant to a western audience, but they were completely Tjampitjinpa's own invention, from his experience, and they owed nothing to western art history.

- Christopher Hodges

Ronnie Tjampitjinpa was a young man in 1971 when the new art movement was forming at Papunya. He was there amidst the scraps of masonite and school paints that for the first time transformed ephemeral indigenous imagery into paintings the like of which the world had never seen.

There is no doubt that these early painters were revolutionaries, pioneers, taking their culture into the 20th century, proudly, bravely and with purpose.

In this early phase Tjampitjinpa tried his hand, and successfully, but it was not until the eighties that he began to engage fully and start painting seriously. There was a sense of bravado about his work, well informed by his activism to claim, and return to, his traditional lands, which he did in 1983.

What emerged over the next decade were canvasses that were confident and forthright. They were unmistakably informed by Tjampitjinpa's rich Pintupi heritage, but at the same time these were striking new works. Tjampitjinpa's direct linear pattern, the grids, the organic geometry, the scale and colour were
uncannily resonant to a western audience, but they were completely Tjampitjinpa's own invention, from his experience, and they owed nothing to western art history.

- Christopher Hodges