Ronnie Tjampitjinpa was born some time around 1943 in the region near Muyinnga, about 100 km west of the Kintore Ranges in Western Australia (approximately 500 km west of Alice Springs). His family travelled extensively across Pintupi territory, moving through this region and also around Wilkinkarra (Lake Mackay) which straddles the Western Australia – Northern Territory border. Ronnie was initiated into Aboriginal Law at Yumari, near his birthplace.
The primary images in Ronnie‘s work are based on the Tingari Cycle which is a secret song cycle sacred to initiated men. The Tingari are Dreamtime Beings who travelled across the landscape performing ceremonies to create and shape the country associated with Dreaming sites. The Tingari ancestors gathered at these sites for Maliera initiation ceremonies. The sites take the form of, and are located at, signifi cant rock holes, sandhills, sacred mountains and water soakages in the western desert.
Tingari may be poetically interpreted as song line paintings relating to the songs of the people and creation stories of places in Pintupi mythology. Ronnie can be considered amongst the fi rst generation of artists effectively linking such ancient stories with modern mediums. During his time at Papunya he talked of returning to his traditional country. This became possible when Kintore was established in 1981 and Ronnie moved there with his family shortly afterwards.
He has been a committed artist since his earliest involvement with the central desert art movement and has since emerged as one of the region‘s major painters. Today, Ronnie remains an important infl uence on the new generation of painters.
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