ICON

Yannima Tommy Watson & Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri

17 March — 1 April 2021

There was something otherworldly about Yannima Tommy Watson and Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri. The way they looked to the distance—dreaming, seemingly disconnected from those hovering around but still knowing exactly what was going on. They held little regard for the world outside their country. Their understanding of law and duty to its continuance was paramount to their existence. The stories—Tjukurrpa—described in the intricate, yet, distinctively different styles of the two artists, spoke of the way things were and should be.

Both men had immense and innate powers, born from their standing in the desert as lawmen and Ngangkari—or healers as they were known since before the dawn of time. They had a depth of understanding about the desert and how to look after it—the animals, the water, and the land itself. Indeed, their knowledge meant survival within their harsh, dry reality.

Bill and Tommy hailed from the Pitjantjara lands—southwest of Uluru, somewhere around the tri-border that now intersects their lands. They had walked the country—lived the nomadic life with their families. It’s not known if they had contact in those days—the vast area was hardly overpopulated. Theirs was a pure, yet, tough existence for decades before they came into the desert settlements. It was the dawn of the desert painting movement that would ultimately capture the world’s imagination. Although they watched the early boards being painted, they were not moved to make paintings themselves until they had finished their journeys.

Both Bill and Tommy came to painting late in life. From the first moment the paint touched the canvas, the magic of their imagery flowed out. It was as though their composition and methodology had been distilled over decades of ceremony and song. It is this rich vein of visual poetry that has captured the imagination of collectors, galleries and institutions the world over. For these two old men (who spoke in their own language) to play an integral role in changing the perception of the land in which we live, is simply remarkable.

At their core, the paintings created are for the old men’s future ancestors—private conversations that we participate in, through the beauty of their unique and individual aesthetic genius.

Ralph Hobbs
March 2021

 

VIEW 7min FILM ABOUT BILL WHISKEY “THAT OLD MAN” documenting his return to country
(Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this film contains images, voices, or names of deceased persons.)

VIEW ARTICLE By Ralph Hobbs — Remembering Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri, VAULT Issue 31 August - October 2020, p. 85 – 87

\ Exhibition featured works

Yannima Tommy Watson

ARAN (Cat. TWR3)

2013 \ Acrylic on board \ 37.5 x 27.5cm framed

Yannima Tommy Watson

IYARKA

2010 \ Acrylic on linen \ 102.5 x 151cm framed

SOLD

Yannima Tommy Watson

IYARKA (Cat No. TWR7)

2013 \ Acrylic on board \ 37.5 x 27.5cm framed

Yannima Tommy Watson

Iyarka (Cat No. TWKM96)

2013 \ Acrylic on board \ 37.5 x 27.5cm framed

SOLD

Yannima Tommy Watson

Iyarka (Cat No. TWR10)

2013 \ Acrylic on board \ 37.5 x 27.5cm framed

SOLD

Yannima Tommy Watson

Kapi Piti (Cat No. TWKM94)

2013 \ Acrylic on board \ 37.5 x 27.5cm framed

Yannima Tommy Watson

Kapi Piti (Cat No. TWR9)

2013 \ Acrylic on board \ 37.5 x 27.5cm framed

Yannima Tommy Watson

Kututu Yiwara (Cat No. TWKM8)

2013 \ Acrylic on board \ 37.5 x 27.5cm framed

Yannima Tommy Watson

Ngayuka Ngura (Cat No. TWR4)

2013 \ Acrylic on board \ 37.5 x 27.5cm framed

Yannima Tommy Watson

Ngayuka Ngura (Cat No. TWR5)

2013 \ Acrylic on board \ 37.5 x 27.5cm framed

Yannima Tommy Watson

Pikarli (Cat No. TWR1)

2013 \ Acrylic on board \ 37.5 x 27.5cm framed

Yannima Tommy Watson

Pikarli (Cat No. TWR6)

2013 \ Acrylic on board \ 37.5 x 27.5cm

Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri

Rockholes Near the Olgas (Cat No. 0307377)

2007 \ Acrylic on linen \ 182 x 152cm

SOLD

Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri

Rockholes Near the Olgas (Panel 10)

Acrylic on board \ 39.5 x 27cm framed

SOLD

Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri

Rockholes Near the Olgas (Panel 5)

Acrylic on board \ 39.5 x 27cm framed

Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri

Rockholes Near the Olgas (Panel 5)

Acrylic on board \ 39.5 x 27cm framed

SOLD

Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri

Rockholes near the Olgas (Cat No. AEBWT10-08484PG)

2008 \ Acrylic on linen \ 150 x 92cm

SOLD

Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri

Rockholes near the Olgas (Panel 4)

Acrylic on board \ 39.5 x 27cm framed

Yannima Tommy Watson

Untitled

2010 \ Ink on paper \ 90 x 70.5cm framed

SOLD

Yannima Tommy Watson

Untitled II

2010 \ Ink on paper \ 90 x 70.5cm framed

SOLD

Yannima Tommy Watson

WIPU (Cat No. TWKM93)

2013 \ Acrylic on board \ 37.5 x 27.5cm framed

Yannima Tommy Watson

WIPU (Cat No. TWKM95)

2013 \ Acrylic on board \ 37.5 x 27.5cm framed

Yannima Tommy Watson

Walpanja (Cat No. TWR8)

2013 \ Acrylic on board \ 37.5 x 27.5cm framed

Yannima Tommy Watson

Walu (Cat No. TWKM9)

2013 \ Acrylic on board \ 37.5 x 27.5cm framed

SOLD

Yannima Tommy Watson

Walu (Cat No. TWR2)

2013 \ Acrylic on board \ 37.5 x 27.5cm framed

SOLD

Yannima Tommy Watson

Walunja (Cat No. TWKM7)

2013 \ Acrylic on board \ 37.5 x 27.5cm framed

Yannima Tommy Watson

Wankamaralj Kulpi (Cat No. TWKM27OCT)

2014 \ Acrylic on linen \ 180 x 244cm

Yannima Tommy Watson

Wipu

2015 \ Acrylic on linen \ 182 x 302cm

\ Other exhibitions

Paul Ryan

South by Southwest

22 June — 10 July 2021

Dee Smart

In the Balance

10 June — 19 June 2021

POB&BURNEY

TRUST

8 June — 19 June 2021

Contact Us

to find out more about ICON.

12 - 14 Meagher Street Chippendale, NSW 2008
Opening Hours
Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm Saturday, 11am - 4pm COVID Safe Check-in: As part of the Nanda\Hobbs COVID safety plan, all visitors to the gallery must sign in via the Service NSW QR code.