George Ward Tjungurrayi
George Ward Tjungurrayi (also known as Wakanintja Tjungurrayi)
George Ward was born c. 1947 near Lararra (east of Tjukurla) Western Australia.
He shared his father, Pulpalpulpalnga Tjapaltjarri, with his older brothers Yala Yala Gibbs Tjungurrayi (a founding member of the Papunya Art movement in the early 1970’s) and Willy Tjungurrayi who became one of Papunya Tula’s prominent artists.
In 1963 George, as a youth, was taken from his homeland west of Lake Macdonald to Papunya as part of Jeremy Long’s Welfare Branch patrol. There he worked as a butcher in the community kitchen and a fencer. He married Nangawarre Ward Napurrula and they had two children, Grace and Adrian. They moved to various Western Australian communities before staying for a few years from 1981 in the newly established Pintupi community of Kintore just over the Northern Territory border There George was encouraged by the art of his brothers Yala Yala and Willy Tjungurrayi, who were two of Papunya Tula’s leading artists.
George and family moved to Kiwirrkurra, also Pintupi country, over the Western Australian border from Kintore where, in 1984, he also began painting with Papunya Tula Artists.
George painted Tingari stories of his country including Kaakuratintja (the large salt lake, of Lake Macdonald). The Tingari is when the Dreamtime Ancestors travelled across the country, creating the landscape and all above and on it. George also painted Snake and Quoll Dreamings in the Waralunga area which were part of the Tingari stories.
George became one of Papunya Tula’s leading artists and in 2004 George won the prestigious Art Gallery of NSW’s Wynn Prize.
George and Nangawarre finally settled in Warakurna, WA, where their son, Adrian, and family live.
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney
Johnson, Vivien, Lives of the Papunya Tula Artists, Australia. IAD Press, 2008