circa 1951, Tjukakarrinyu, Tanami Desert
Wirrimanu (Balgo), WA
Tjukukalyu, Tanami Desert
circa 1953, Sturt Creek Station, WA
Wirrimanu (Balgo), WA
Purkitji (Sturt Creek, WA)
Pauline paints her parents’ Country. Her mother, Bai Bai Napangarti (c.1935–2020), a law woman and senior Elder of the Balgo community, is a Ngardi woman whose Country extends from Mangkayi in the Stansmore Ranges to just south of Yagga Yagga. Her late father, Sunfly Tjampitjin (c.1920–1996), was an important Kukatja law man who was born further south, at Murrunpa (the Alec Ross Range) near Wilkinkarra (Lake Mackay).
Pauline was born at the old Balgo Mission and was educated through the mission school. She recalls working in the kitchen, the laundry and clearing the grounds of the mission. She has spent some time in Fitzroy Crossing and has visited Broome and Alice Springs, but otherwise has remained in Balgo with her ever growing family.
Bai Bai introduced her three daughters to painting at an early age, teaching them Tjukurrpa (creation stories and lore) through mark making. Pauline became an adept painter in her own right as a young woman, learning her craft through time spent sitting and painting with the old people. Bold and striking, her paintings depict ancestral paths, ceremonial designs and the stories of important Tjukurrpa sites associated with the native cat, goanna and luurnpa (kingfisher).
Pauline has been a finalist for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA) and the Kate Challis Raka Art Award, she has had two solo exhibitions including a showcase in the 2019 Tarnanthi Art Fair at the Art Gallery of South Australia. Pauline’s work is found in significant national and international collections.
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Jimmy & Angie Tchooga
Jimmy and Angie Tchooga are a strong team. They have been married since 1972 and have five sons, one daughter and many grandchildren. They have recently started painting collaboratively after they worked for a long time as solo artists. Jimmy creates bold lines and Angie complements his work with fine dotting. Together they make strong painting.
Jimmy Tchooga is a prominent artist, a senior law man and lead singer for ceremony. Painting with strong hues, his dot work is both intentional and specific. Jimmy’s country is Tjukakarrinyu, east of Balgo in the Tanami Desert: primarily his paintings depict his Tjukurrpa, specifically his father’s creation story. Jimmy has been a strong cultural leader in the community and has been Chairperson and Director of Warlayirti artists for many years.
Angie is a reliable and active member of the community of Balgo having also served as Warlayirti Director. She was born at Sturt Creek Station where she was raised by elders of the Tjaru people. After completing her schooling at the Old Balgo Mission, Angie returned to Sturt Creek as a domestic worker. She has fond memories of taking the children out on bush trips during this period. Angie met her husband Jimmy on the station and then travelled to Balgo to marry. Jimmy and Angie would often migrate between Sturt Creek and Balgo until one of their sons fell ill and they moved permanently to Balgo to be close to the clinic. Angie has lived in Balgo for about 20 years and misses the country of Sturt Creek, however she is still able to visit her country for hunting and fishing.
Angie started painting in 1988 and her themes include waterlilies and the Tjurrkupa snake. She has travelled to Perth and Melbourne for exhibitions and together with Jimmy can be found at the art centre most days.