Walter Jangala Brown, Tingari Cycle


Acrylic on linen


Walter Jangala Brown was born in 1977 in Yuendumu, a remote Aboriginal community 290 km north-west of Alice Springs in the NT of Australia. He comes from a long line of artists including Pintupi artist Ronnie Jampijinpa, a highly acclaimed painter and founder of the Papunya Tula Artists group. Walter went to Yirara College, an Aboriginal boarding college in Alice Springs. When he finished school, he worked for the Shire for 2 or 3 years. He now lives in Nyirripi and is married to Valerie. They have three children.

He began painting in 2007. He paints his father’s Ngapa Jukurrpa (Water Dreaming); Warna Jukurrpa (Snake Dreaming); and Yumari Jukurrpa (a collection of rocks located to the west of Kintore in the Gibson Desert). He also paints his grandfather’s Tingari Cycle. These dreamings relate directly to his land, its features and the plants and animals that inhabit it.

Tingari refers to the Dreaming and its Laws for the Pintupi language group of the Central Western Desert. The Tingari is the Creation era when the Dreamtime Ancestors moved across the lands, creating the features of the landscape and all aspects of the natural world.

The Tingari Ancestors stopped at specific sites on their journey, and the events that occurred at each site as they camped there, gave rise to all the features of the surrounding environment and the animals and plants that are found there. These Creation events have been embodied in the song cycles learned by initiated Pintupi elders, and these long narrative songs provide the Laws and social structures that traditional Pintupi people have lived under. As younger people are initiated into the Law, they are taken through gradual stages of knowledge of traditional matters, which becomes a life-long process.

The Tingari sites have traditional custodians, and these can be categorised into two groups – owners and managers. The owners’ role is to oversee and make sure that all aspects of maintenance of the site and its ceremonial obligations are properly carried out. The managers’ role is to organise the ceremonies to ensure that all aspects of the events are provided for and that the correct people are properly involved.

The custodial roles of the Tingari sites are handed down along family lines – they are tied to the kinship (skin) groups that are aligned to family groups. Often two skin groups will have custodial roles for a Tingari site, which further binds them together by their custodial obligations. The cohesion of traditional society is reinforced by the strong Laws and beliefs that are found in the Tingari song cycles.

When Walter is not working or painting he plays football and goes hunting.

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