Helicopter Tjungurrayi

Helicopter Tjungurrayi was an Aboriginal artist from Balgo Hills in Western Australia. Born at Nynmi, Helicopter learnt from a young age the location of water sources and how to hunt for bush food. Helicopter was a ‘Maparn’ (traditional medicine man) and people traveled hundreds of miles to see him for healing. He was also a respected painter alongside his wife Lucy Yukenbarri. In the early 1990s he painted with his wife, not seeking any acknowledgement.

From 1994 Helicopter painted on his own in a distinctive linear style that emanates from the central feature of a soak water. Helicopter travelled widely during the mission days to pick up supplies (Broome, Alice Springs, Wyndham). There are many stories of the endless tasks performed on the Mission; drilling for water, cutting timber for fencing, fixing the windmill. He was dedicated to painting his country and the country of his mother and father where he lived a nomadic life as a young boy.
Subject & Themes
Pippar Country: his mother’s country, Nynmi country: his father’s country,Tingari,Soak waters.
Art Gallery of New South Wales
National Gallery of Victoria
Kluge Ruhe Collection, USA
Gantner Myer Collection
Laverty Collection
Edith Cowan University
Harland Collection
Ken Thompson and Pierre Marecaux Collection
Individual Exhibitions
1999 Tjurrnu: Living Water, Alcaston Gallery , Melbourne
Group Exhibitions
2002 Balgo Hills, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
2002 19th NATSIAA, Museum and Art Gallery of NT, Darwin
2002 Balgo Hills Artists 2002, Art Mob, Aboriginal Fine Art, Tasmania
2002 Art from Balgo, Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs
2002 Kutjungka , Passing it On: Works from Balgo Hills, Coomalie Cultural Centre, Batchelor
2002 Big Colour My Country, Thornquest Gallery, Gold Coast
2002 Balgo Hills: An artist’s survey, Hogarth Galleries, Sydney
2001 Short on Size, Short St. Gallery, Broome
2001 Balgo Men, Framed Gallery, Darwin
2001 All About Art, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne
2001 Kutjungka, Bett Gallery, Hobart
2001 Balgo Works, Staedtische Gallery, Wolsfburg, Germany
2001 New paintings from Balgo, Cutliffe Gallery, Sydney
2001 Recent Works by Artists from Balgo Hills, Ochre Gallery, Collingwood, Victoria
2001 Balgo Artists Return to Country, Vivien Anderson Gallery, Melbourne
2001 Spirituality and Australian Aboriginal Art, Alcaston Gallery, Madrid, Spain
2001 Yvonnou Balgo Exhibition, AMG Gallery, Paris
2001 Past Modern: an exhibition of Kimberley Landscapes, Short Street Gallery in conjunction with Australia Square, Sydney
2000 The Westside: Images in Ochre and Colour, Coo-ee II Exhibiting Gallery, Yuwayi Art Precinct, World Square, Sydney
2000 Olympic Exhibition, Coo-ee Exhibiting Gallery, Yuwayi Art Precinct, World Square, Sydney
2000 Past, Present and Future, Gallery East, Sydney
2000 Balgo Hills, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
2000 Marking the Paper: limited edition prints on paper, Desart, Sydney
2000 Melbourne Artfair 2000, Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne
2000 Waltja – Family, Hogarth Galleries, Sydney
2000 Hot Press: Recent Prints from Central Austalia and the Kimberley, Beaver Galleries, Canberra
2000 Peintures des Aborigenes d’Australie, Palais des Congres et des Expositions, Paris, France
2000 Balgo Art, Gondwana Gallery, Alice Springs
2000 Balgo Hills Aboriginal Paintings, Bett Gallery, Hobart
1999 Aboriginal Art, IHK, Würzburg, Germany
1999 Dreaming in Colour: Australian Aboriginal Art from Balgo, University of Virginia, USA
1999 16th National ATSI Art Awards, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin
1999 East Kimberley Art Awards, Kununurra Arts Council, Kununurra
1999 Desert Mob ’99, Araluen Centre, Alice Springs
1999 30th Alice Prize, Araluen Centre, Alice Springs
1999 Mularrpa (True) Balgo, Framed, the Gallery, Darwin
1999 Miliynyin, Hogarth Galleries, Sydney
1999 Miliynyin, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle
1998 Culture Store, Art Gallery, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
1998 Ngurrara: My Own Country, Hogarth Galleries, Sydney
1998 Dreamings, Spazio Pitti Arte, Florence, Italy
1998 Balgo Men, Vivien Anderson Gallery, Melbourne
1998 Hilton Hotel Art Gallery, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
1998 Dreamings, Vlaams-Europeesch Conferentiecentrum, Brussels, Belgium
1997 Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs
997 New Paintings from Balgo Artists, Vivien Anderson Gallery, Melbourne
1997 Big Balgos: Recent Paintings by Warlayirti Artists, Hogarth Galleries, Sydney
1997 Balgo Paintings, Seywald Gallery, Salzburg, Austria
1997 Dreamings, Arnhem, The Netherlands
1997 Innenseite: Projektgruppe Stoffwechsel, Kassel & Gottingen, Germany
1997 Desert Country, Matso’s, Broome
1996 Balgo Hills: Art of the Place, Derek Simpkins Gallery of Tribal Art, Vancouver, BC, Canada
1995 Two Men Dreaming: New Art from Balgo Hills, Coo-ee Aboriginal Art Gallery, Paddington
1999 Special Commendation, East Kimberley Art Awards, Kununurra Arts Council, Kununurra

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