Dennis Nelson Tjakamarra

Artist Dennis Nelson Tjakamarra
Title Kalipinypa
Year 2022

Acrylic on linen

Dimensions 152 × 122 cm
Art Centre Papunya Tjupi Arts →

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Dennis Nelson Tjakamarra

Dennis Nelson Tjakamarra is the son of Johnny Warangkula Tjupurrula, one of the founders of the desert painting movement, and his second wife Gladys (Yawitji) Napanangka, who was among the first group of women at Papunya to paint for Papunya Tula Artists. Dennis remembers going “after school or smoko time” to watch the painters at work. He says his father taught him to paint. Dennis’ paintings are strongly reminiscent of his father’s early works: “I carry on his style. I know.” His father also taught him took him to the sites of the Kalipinypa Kapi Tjukurrpa (Water Dreaming) with “lots of birds playing round after the rain”; the “Death Spirit [that] comes from underground in the middle of the desert” and Tjikari where the “Men Dreaming [are] still there now”. Dennis painted for Papunya Tula Artists in the early 1990s and now works with Papunya Tjupi Arts.

Artist statement

This painting depicts the Kapi Tjukurrpa (Water Dreaming) site of Kalipinypa, north-east of Walungurru (Kintore). Dennis Nelson Tjakamarra talks of Kalipinypa as Paradise Country. He remembers a story of this site where two birds wander around for water. Underneath that water there is a snake making the water bubble. There is bush tucker all around. There are wild flowers, kapi tjukitji and water running. The painting tells the story of an important rain making ceremony involving the rainmakers to invoke storms. Kalipinypa is a powerful storm that brings lightning, thunderclouds and rain to rejuvenate the earth, filling rock holes, clay pans and creeks. The meandering lines depict the water flowing throughout the country and between waterholes. Background dotting represents the rejuvenating effect the rain has on the land, bringing out the bush food plants and providing easy access to water.