The Collection

The Collection

Father/Son/Grandfather Dreaming

  • Artist Tim Leura Tjapaltjarri
    (circa 1929-1984)
  • Title Father/Son/Grandfather Dreaming
  • Year 1978
  • Dimensions 47.5cm x 62.5 cm
  • Materials Synthetic polymer powder paint on composition board
  • Provenance Acquired directly from the artist at Papunya by Geoffrey Bardon in January 1978

    Private collection, New South Wales

    Private collection, France

    Perera-Picco Collection, Italy
  • Exhibited Open Air: Portraits in the Landscape, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, 3 December 2008 - 1 March 2009
  • Literature Andrew Sayers, Open Air: Portraits in the Landscape, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, 2008, pp.15-16, p.17, illus. Ryan and Batty

    Tjukurrtjanu: Origins of Western Desert Art, NGV, 2011, p.55, illus.
  • Copyright Papunya Tula Artists Pty Ltd.

Tim Leura made Father/Son/Grandfather for Geoffrey Bardon, a school teacher who in 1971/2 brought the artists at Papunya together to begin to paint their own stories and country. Bardon was very close to Leura and he drew attention to an ‘extraordinarily autobiographical’ quality in the artist’s work.” (Sayers, op. cit., pp.15-16)

Philip Batty, Senior Curator, Anthropology at Museum Victoria, writes: “Tim Leura occasionally used skeletons to honour his deceased patrilineal relatives; Father/Son/Grandfather Dreaming 1978 is just such a painting. While from a western viewpoint the skeleton represents annihilation, in such works he is referring to his father and grandfather as living men of his memory, showing them with their spears and spear-throwers, emblems of their manhood.” (Ibid. p.55)

Fine details Representation of Leura's father

Wally Caruana writes “The interplay between the artist’s knowledge, land, family and kin relationships and life story is clearly demonstrated in Tim Leura’s painting Father/Son/ Grandfather Dreaming c.1978. Two skeletal gures traverse a landscape of sand and grass rendered as elds of dots in greys, blacks, white and tones of red ochre. They are hunting euro (kangaroo) therefore, their spears and spear-throwers are shown. The central gure represents Leura’s father (a man of the Tjungurrayi kinship group), that on the left, his grandfather (a Tjapaltjarri man, like the artist). They are represented again in the traditional symbolism of Desert painting as the parallel arcs surrounding a set of concentric circles to the right in the painting. Here the roundel represents a replace; the upper arcs indicate the artist’s father, that on the right his grandfather, and the lower set of arcs the artist himself. The men are talking about hunting according to the strict protocols between grandfather, father and son.