Patrick Tjungurrayi was born in Yalangerri near Jupiter Well in Western Australia around 1935. He is a Pintupi and Kukatja speaker, the brother of the late Brandy Tjungurrayi and Elizabeth Nyumi, both major artists from the Balgo community.
As a young man, he walked with his family following the Canning Stock Route north into old Balgo Mission which had been established in 1943. The family would collect rations such as wheat, which they would grind up themselves, and rice, sugar and tea, and then return to the bush. Patrick Tjungurrayi spent his early years travelling between Balgo and Kiwirrkura, moving with his family across their traditional lands.
Patrick Tjungurrayi eventually moved to the Old Balgo Mission, where he worked building stone houses and later the church at the new Balgo site. He met and married Mirriam Oloodoodi, Lucy Yukenbari’s sister, but returned to Kintore shortly after while she remained behind. Through the early 1980s Patrick travelled to Christmas Creek, Docker River and other desert communities. Patrick Tjungurrayi is a senior law man for his country – he began painting in Balgo in 1986, and more recently exhibited with Papunya Tula.
In 2008 Patrick Tjungurrayi won the Western Australian Indigenous Art Award sponsored by the Art Gallery of Western Australia. His work is described as having a powerful presence – masterful and monumental.