George Hairbrush Tjungarrayi

George Hairbrush Tjungarrayi

Date of Birth: c. 1945

Region: Mukula west of Kiwirrkura, Lake Mackay, Western Desert

Language: Pintupi/Luritja & Ngaatjatjarra

George and his family walked to Papunya via Mt. Doreen and Yuendumu in 1960. He is the older brother of Willy Tjungurrayi. He has lived at various locations including Yai Yai Creek, Warawa, and Mt. Liebig. George now resides at Kintore with his family. He is the younger brother of Naata and Nancy Ross Nungarrayi (dec.).

George began painting at Papunya around 1977, since then his painting style has focussed on the subject of Tingari, the sacred designs that relate to the activities of ancestral beings. The locations of these activities remain as important ceremony sites for the Pintupi people. These sites include Wala Wala, Kiwirrkura, Kulkuta, Karku, Kilpina and Wilkinkarra (Lake Mackay).

In the late 1990s he switched from painting classic Tingari themes to his trademark topographical linework for his first solo exhibitions in Australia's eastern state capitals, earning immediate acclaim. His distinctive style represents the claypan of Mamultjulkunga, a water soakage site north west of Lake Mackay where his father passed away. Two Tingari men made camp at this site, one man from the Tjangala kinship subsection and the other man from the Tjapaltjarri kinship section. After rain the claypan becomes a freshwater lake. A fleshy sub-shrub known as Tecticornia Verrucosa is prominent in the area and its seed (mungilypa or samphire) are collected and ground into a paste and cooked on coals to make a form of unleavened bread.

George is considered one of the most respected senior artists from the Western Desert and has been voted “The most collectable artist” by Australian Art Collector magazine.