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Tjungkara Ken

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Tjungkara Ken
Born (1969-10-01) 1 October 1969 (age 51)
Years active2008 – present
OrganizationTjala Arts
StyleWestern Desert art
Parent(s)Mick Wikilyiri (father)
Paniny Mick (mother)

Tjungkara Ken (born 1 October 1969) is an Australian Aboriginal artist from Amaṯa, South Australia.[1] She began painting in 1997,[1] when Minymaku Arts was opened by the women of Amaṯa.[2] She started doing it professionally (as a job) in 2008.[1] By that time, the artists' co-operative had been renamed to Tjala Arts.[2]

Ken's paintings depict stories and figures from her personal Tjukurpa (Dreaming), the spirituality that is associated with her ancestor's homeland. Her father is from the country around Amaṯa and Walitjara, and Ken most often depicts this country and its Tjukurpa in her paintings. She also illustrates her mother's country, which is further west, near Irrunytju.[1]

Ken's paintings have been featured in group exhibitions in many of Australia's major cities. Some of her work was also part of an exhibition in Graz, Austria in 2002.[1][3] One of her paintings, titled Ngayuku ngura – My Country, was chosen as a finalist for the National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award in 2010.[3][4] It was bought by a private collector.[5] Another of Ken's works, a painting depicting the Kungkarungkara (Seven Sisters Dreaming), was chosen by the Art Gallery of South Australia as the winner of its "Desert Country" competition in 2011.[6] The exhibition featured works by several artists from across the Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands, including Maringka Baker, Nura Rupert and Jimmy Baker.[7][8]

Examples of Ken's work are shown in the National Gallery of Victoria,[9] the Art Gallery of South Australia,[10] the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art,[3][11] and the National Gallery of Australia.[12] It is also held in several major private galleries in Australia.[1][3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Ananguku Arts, ed. Tjukurpa Pulkatjara: The Power of the Law. Wakefield Press. p. 66. ISBN 9781862548909 . 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Kohen, Apolline (31 March 2011). The Stories of the Elders. Australian Art & Leisure Media Pty Ltd. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "Details of Tjungkara Ken". Short Street Gallery. Retrieved 27 November 2012. 
  4. "Room brochure" (PDF). 27th National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award. Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. 2010. Retrieved 27 November 2012. 
  5. Boland, Michaela (20 April 2012). Storage laws force collectors to soft-sell. 
  6. "Desert Country competition winner". E-News. Art Gallery of South Australia. February 2011. Retrieved 27 November 2012. 
  7. "Art Gallery of South Australia, Until 26 January 2011". Desart. Desart Incorporated; Association of Central Australian Aboriginal Art & Craft Centres. Retrieved 27 November 2012. 
  8. Walker, Wendy (19 November 2010). Joining the dots on desert movement. 
  9. "Tjungkara Ken". National Gallery of Victoria. Retrieved 27 November 2012. 
  10. "Desert Country: Art Gallery of South Australia travelling exhibition". Exhibitions. Newcastle Art Gallery.,_uwalki_1998. Retrieved 27 November 2012. 
  11. "Amata painters". Exhibitions. Queensland Art Gallery of Modern Art. 2012. Retrieved 27 November 2012. 
  12. "Ken, Tjungkara". Collection Online. National Gallery of Australia. Retrieved 27 November 2012.