Tjupi Old Car Tjukurrpa

Our Culture

Added by Papunya Tjupi Arts

Description In November 2019 Papunya Tjupi Art Gallery presented their exhibition Tjupi Puli (Honey Ant Mountain). The name Tjupi Puli is an homage to the ancestral dreaming site that rests aside Papunya community sometimes referred to as Warumpi. The showpiece of the exhibition was the old painted Ford Falcon and the accompanying film. With the approval and supervision of Bob Dixon, traditional owner for Tjupi Puli and holder for the associated Tjukurrpa, Watson Corby led a project of painting a broken down Ford Falcon from the seventies that lay beside Tjupi Puli. Watson coordinated a medley of different works painted on the motorcar in an homage to the early painters of Papunya. Watson also directed the short film which can be seen here with colleague Bruce Inkamala behind the camera. Featured on the car are the motifs used to depict the Tjukurrpa of Kaapa Tjampitjimpa, Kumantjayi Long Tjakamarra and Johnny Warungkula. The centrepiece of this project is the recreation of the Tjupi Tjukurrpa story painted on the Papunya School in 1971. Referred to as the ‘honey ant mural’, this work is often cited as marking the beginning of the Western Desert Art movement. Bob Dixon, who watched his father paint the mural as a child, carefully dictated to Watson and the young men how it should be painted. Dennis Kulata Nelson also painted his Kalipinypa Tjukurrpa on the rear side of the car, the Tjukurrpa again inherited from Johnny Warangkula, Denis’ father. Watson’s idea for this project was inspired by his experience talking at Desertmob symposium in 2019. He spoke proudly in Luritja of Papunya history, his grandfather's country and the journey of the young men before hundreds of strangers. His Nephew Zachius Turner confidently translated his story. The experience prompted a nostalgia for Watson and an urge to tell Papunya’s stories. Through the motorcar project Watson ingeniously communicates the narrative of the young men, depicting their exciting new beginnings, which are deeply conscious of their roots.

- “Ngatja family tree kunyu. Palya nyakuntjaku. Ulata tjukurrpa ngatja. Yuwa nganampa tjukurrpa kanyintjaku”. – Bob Dixon

- “This is like a family tree. It’s good for us to see this. There is a whole lot of dreaming here. Our dreaming. Here so that we can hold onto it”. – Bob Dixon

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