Walter Tjampitjinpa

(Australia circa 1912 – 1981)

Papunya, Central Desert region
Language group
Pintupi, Western Desert region

Men's journey

Not on display
Further information

For many people, the painting of the Honey Ant mural on the Papunya Special School in 1971 signals the beginnings of the desert art movement. Walter Tjampitjinpa was a senior cultural figure in Papunya and was among the group of men who authorised the design for this mural. Tjampitjinpa then became a founding member of Papunya Tula Artists, the company incorporated in 1972 which has become the model of excellence for Aboriginal art centres throughout Australia.

'Men’s journey' 1971 is among the first works painted by Tjampitjinpa, and is a classic depiction of the Tingari ancestors and their extensive travels and actions across desert country. While the iconography used to represent the Tingari is widely known, the precise details of their actions remain the domain of initiated men. This style of painting has its basis in ground-paintings for ceremony made from red desert sand highlighted with white wamulu (bush cotton).

Place of origin
Papunya, Northern Territory, Australia
synthetic polymer paint on hardboard
38.0 x 23.0 cm board
Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.

Gift of Dr Colin and Mrs Elizabeth Laverty 2005
Accession number
© Walter Tjampitjinpa