Ronnie Tjampitjinpa

Ronnie Tjampitjinpa (also known as Yuntjantji)

Ronnie was born circa 1943 around Muyin west of the Kintore Ranges and near the Western Australian border.

As a youth Ronnie, with his family, travelled around Pintupi country including Wilkinkarra (Lake Mackey).   In 1956 Jeremy Long (Welfare Branch patrol) recorded them among a large group of Pintupi who walked into Papunya, a harsh government experiment where different tribes were placed together in the one settlement.    On first seeing white people Ronnie and his family thought they were ‘devils from the grave’.  

Initially in Papunya Ronnie worked as a labourer with airstrip fencing at Papunya and Haasts Bluff.   Although he began painting in earnest in the early 1980’s Ronnie painted intermittently from 1971 and was one of the original Papunya Tula Artists’ shareholders.

With the establishment of Kintore in 1981 Ronnie moved back there to his homelands with his family and created the Ininti outstation.   Over the next decade he became one of Papunya Tula Artists leading artists, initiating the geometric shapes and bold linear style that became synonymous with many Kintore artists.   Ronnie painted his dreamings including Water at Kalipinypa, Echidna, Bushfire and Tingari cycle (the celestial ancestors of the Pintupi people who travelled the desert country creating the landscape and all on it which became sacred or sacred sites and teaching law).      Ronnie’s brother, Smithy Zimran Tjampitjinpa and his ‘brother’ Kenny Williams Tjampitjinpa also became prominent Papunya Tula artists.

In 2001 and 2009 Top 50 Collectable Artists in Australian Art Collector Magazine included Ronnie.   He currently is, and has been for many years, acknowledged as a highly collectable Aboriginal artist.  

Ronnie and his third wife, artist Mary Brown Napangardi, live in Kintore.

Collections include:
National Gallery Australia, Canberra
Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney
Art Gallery of SA, Adelaide
Art Gallery of WA, Perth,
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Museum and Art Galleries of the NT, Darwin
Parliament House Collection, Canberra
British Museum, London
Musee du Quai Branly, Paris
Groninger Museum, The Netherlands
Harvard Art Museum, Cambridge
Singapore Art Museum, Singapore
Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo
Museo Sa Bassa Blanca, Spain
Donald Kahn Collection, Lowe Art Museum, Miami
Luciano Benetton Collection, Venice
The Holmes a Court Collection, Perth
Kluge Ruhe Collection, University of Virginia
Kaplan and Levi Collection, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle

Sources used:
Johnson, Vivien, Lives of the Papunya Tula Artists, Australia. IAD Press, 2008


Ronnie Tjampitjinpa
Men’s Ceremony | Ronnie Tjampitjinpa | TRT 201
Ronnie Tjampitjinpa
Men’s Ceremony | Ronnie Tjampitjinpa | LMRT 0204
Ronnie Tjampitjinpa
Men’s Ceremony | Ronnie Tjampitjinpa | LMRT 0203

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