Malliera Initiation Ceremony (2002)
In this work, Dr George Tjapaltjarri paints a portion of the highly significant Dreaming event of the Tingari Cycle. The site is Pintalpura (Jupiter Well) in the Gibson Desert of Western Australia, the artist’s traditional country and where the Tingari men performed highly significant Malliera (young men’s initiation) ceremonies.
The bold white lines in this painting depict the body paint applied to the youths by the Tingari men, either those of ritual scarification or body paint. This initiation is the first stage of the lifetime commitment to traditional law and the introduction to an understanding of the Tingari Cycle.
This striking work can be viewed and hung in different orientation.
Since events associated with the Tingari Cycle are of a secret and sacred nature few details are given. Generally, the Tingari are a group of men of the Dreaming (creation) era who traveled over vast stretches of the country, performing rituals and creating and shaping particular sites. It was at Pintalpura that a large group of Tingari ancestors stopped to gather kampararpa (desert raisin - a small fruit which looks somewhat like a small green tomato) and purra (a powerful antiseptic obtained from the inner bark of the red gum). The Tingari men were accompanied by novices and usually followed by Tingari Women. Their travels and adventures are enshrined in the song cycles. These legends form port of the teachings of the post initiatory youths today as well as providing explanations for contemporary customs.