Ronnie Tjampitjinpa Fire Dreaming


Ronnie Tjampitjinpa

Ronnie Tjampitjinpa was born around 1943 near Muyinnga, west of the Kintore Ranges in the Northern Territory. His family moved extensively throughout Pintupi Country living the traditional ways his people have lived for over 40,000 years.

He was initiated into manhood in the early 1950’s. Shortly afterwards drought conditions encouraged Ronnie and his family to move towards Haasts Bluff and then later to joined relatives at the newly settled Papunya Community. Here he found work as a fencer making yards for cattle in surrounding areas.

It was during Ronnie’s time at Papunya that he started to take an interest in the Papunya Tula Desert Art Movement (formed in the early 70’s). Not long after he started painting Ronnie began discussing with various people the idea of moving back to and living on traditional lands. For Ronnie this goal became reality in 1981 with the establishment of the Kintore settlement.

By being more in touch with his traditional lands and the Dreaming, Ronnie soon emerged as one of Papunya Tula’s major artists. His work reflects his direct ties with his culture, retaining a purity that many other Aboriginal artists have not achieved. Ronnie Tjampitjinpa’s work follows the strict Pintupi style of strong circles joined together by connecting lines – a style relating to people, the land and the Dreamtime.

Ronnie’s Art  consists of  geometric shapes and bold lines. He painted the themes of water dreaming, bushfire dreaming and the Tingari cycle. Tingari are the legendary beings of the Pintupi people that travelled the desert performing rituals, teaching law, creating landforms and shaping what would become ceremonial sites.The meanings behind Tingari paintings are multi-layered.

Ronnie Tjampitjinpa was the winner of the 1988 Alice Springs Art Prize and has been a finalist in numerous prestigous art prizes . He is regarded as one of Aboriginal art’s most collectable artists, His art is in many  major collections worldwide.

Ronnie was married to Mary Brown Napangardi who resides in the Pintupi community of Kintore,in a  remote desert area, about 500km west of Alice Springs.

In 2008 and 2009 Ronnie Tjampitjinpa was listed as one of the 50 Most Collectable Artists by the Australian Art Collector magazine.