Tingari Cycle (1999)
The subject represented in this painting by Dr George is 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 red roundels set against the yellow background and the yellow and white roundels set against the black background symbolize rocky outcrops of the terrain surrounding Ungarla. The work represents a combination of the physical landscape of Ungarla plus the ochre used for the body designs associated with the Tingari Cycle. This contemporary and minimalist depiction by ‘Dr’ George brings together two hallmarks that he is renowned for in the one artwork.
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 part of the teachings of the post initiatory youths today as well as providing explanations for contemporary customs.