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Helicopter Tjungurrayi


Alias: Helicopter Joe Tjungurrayi

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Helicopter Tjungarrayi - Born: c1937 Location: Nynmi (Jupiter Well) Skin: Tjungarrayi Language Group: Kukatja

Mediums: Acrylic paint on canvas and linen
Themes: Piparr country (his mother's country), Nynmi country (his father's country), Tingari, soakwaters.

Helicopter learnt from an early age the location of water sources and how to hunt for bush food. He is a maparn (traditional healer) and people travel long distances to see him for treatment and healing. In the early 1990s he painted with his wife (recently deceased), but since 1995 has painted independently in a distinctive linear style that radiates from the central feature of a soakwater. He is dedicated to painting his country and that of his parents where he lived a nomadic life as a young boy. He also uses the kinti-kinti style of dotting pioneered by his wife but works with a different range of colours combined with the more flowing linear elements.

Helicopter was given his name as a result of an accident in the 1960s when he became seriously ill and was collected by a flying doctor using the first helicopter seen in the area. In 2008 the retired helicopter pilot was fascinated to find that the young boy he has rescued in the 1960s had grown to become one of Balgo's leading artists - the story is toild in the article Joy for Jim as helicopter kid turns up 50 years on.

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Aboriginal Art (991)