Helicopter Joe Tjungurrayi
74 x 39 cm
This etching depicts Helicopter's traditional country, which is located far to the south of
Balgo, near Jupiter Well in the Great Sandy Desert. It was in this country that Helicopter
was born, and later travelled and hunted as a young man with his family. The lines in ths
print represent the tali, or sand dunes, which dominate the landscape of the area.
(Warlayirti Arts) This print was first exhibited as part of the 'Balgo: Recent Prints' show at
the Charles Darwin University Gallery, in August 2003, and was also entered in the 2003
Shell Fremantle Print Award.
Helicopter Joe Tjungarrayi (Tjungarayi) was born in 1947, at a place called Ninmi in the
Great Sandy Desert. He is a noted 'maparn' (tradtional healer) and people continue to
travel vast distances for his healing counsel. During the mission days when he worked odd
jobs as a labourer, Helicopter travelled widely throughout the region. The name
'Helicopter' was given after an accident in the 1960s which necessitated his transport to
hospital in a Royal Flying Doctor helicopter - the first seen in the area. In the early 1990s,
Helicopter painted alongside his wife, the late Lucy Yukenbarri, but since 1995 he has
forged his own painting career, achieving his first solo exhibition in 1999 at Alcaston
Gallery, Melbourne. He has participated in numerous Balgo group shows and is
represented in the collections of the Art Gallery of NSW, the Laverty Collection, the
National Gallery of Victoria, and the Gantner Myer Collection.