Tim Leura Tjapaltjarri

(c. 1929—1984)

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(c.1929–1984), Anmatyerre– Arrente painter and wood carver, grew up on Napperby station (NT) and worked as a stockman before moving to Papunya with his young family, when the settlement was established in the late 1950s. There he made carvings of wooden snakes and goannas renowned in central Australia for the brilliant quality of their craftsmanship. When painting began at Papunya in 1971, he quickly joined the group and became the close friend and assistant of the art teacher Geoffrey Bardon. He also enlisted his younger brother Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri. In the mid 1970s the brothers collaborated on a series of large topographical paintings incorporating several Dreaming stories in a map-like configuration on one canvas. This was of considerable importance as it was one of the characteristics of painting from Papunya that appealed to European sensibilities. Leura became custodian of the country known as Nurta on Napperby Creek, and painted the possum, yam, blue tongue lizard, sun, moon and morning star Dreamings associated with this area. Always prolific, he had a delicacy of touch, and his translucent painterly effects are distinctive even in his earliest works. The sombre quality of his work reflects his profound sadness at the loss of the old ways of life.

Leura has participated in many group exhibitions including, ‘Dot and Circle’ (RMIT 1985), ‘Mythscapes’ (NGV 1989), ‘The Continuing Tradition’ (NGA 1989), ‘The Painted Dream’ (Auckland and Wellington 1991), ‘Crossroads’ (Kyoto and Tokyo 1992), and ‘Aṟatjara’ (Düsseldorf, London, and Humlebaek 1993–94). He served two terms as a member of the AAB of the Australia Council (1973–74). Examples of his work are held in the NGA, SAM, and most Australian State galleries, as well as in the Holmes à Court Collection, Heytesbury (WA), and the Kelton Foundation, Santa Monica.

From The Oxford Companion to Aboriginal Art and Culture in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Art.

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