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Bobby West Tjupurrula B. 1958

Ancient culture of 60 thousand years gave the World its most exciting Contemporary Art

If you LOVE quality Art of impeccable provenance, the art you want is at Galeria Aniela

Bobby West Tjupurrula is the son of Freddy West Tjupurrula, one of the original shareholders of Papunya Tula Artist. Bobby West is a well-known  Australian Aboriginal artist. He won many Art Awards including 1999 collaborative National Museum Berlin Germany, 2001 Alice Springs Art Award, 2002 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, 2003 Art in Residency Fireworks Gallery Brisbane, 2006 'Rising Stars' Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, 2011 Art in Residency Fireworks Gallery, 2011 National Aboriginal Art Award. Bobby West Tjupurrula work is held in collections around the world. Bobby West Tingari Cycle painting sold for $18,600 and Yunala for $18,300.

Auction results




Bobby West Tjupurrula
Tingari Cycle  (2002)
Synthetic polymer paint on Belgian linen
Image size: 120 cm x 92 cm
Framed size: 160 cm x
132 cm
Provenance: Warumpi Community Art Centre

Price:  Enquire  


Related work


Tingari Cycle painted in 2002 is a museum-quality original beautiful painting of impeccable provenance that has the sheer physical presence of the much contemporary work of art.

Bobby West Tjupurrula work is in ‘The Lizard Eaters’ by Douglas Lockwood.

The Tingari (Tingarri) cycle Dreamtime story relate to the sacred sites around the Lake MacDonald area. These are creation stories telling of the epic journey of the ancestors spirits. The Tingari Men and Women (ancestors), travelled through the land in the Dreamtime (Tjukurrpa) created sites and teaching Aboriginal law.

In Australian Aboriginal mythology Tingari cycle embodies a vast network of Aboriginal Dreaming (tjukurpa) song-lines that pass through the Australian Western Desert region. Locations and events associated with the Tingari cycle are frequently the subject of Aboriginal Art from the region.

Bobby West father was Freddy West Tjakamarra, one of the original shareholders of Papunya Tula Artists. Bobby was painting for Papunya Tula Artists since the late 1980’s, and has become an integral part of the company, serving also as chairman.


Auction Results
Auction Results

Bobby West Tjupurrula B. 1958



Price excl. GST

Tingari Cycle, 2002

Synthetic polymer paint on linen,

187 x 157 cm, Est: $18,000-22,000, Lawson~Menzies (now trading as Menzies), Aboriginal Art Auction, Sydney, 23/11/2004, Lot No. 23



Yunala 2001

Synthetic polymer paint on linen, bears artists name, size and Papunya Tula Artists catalogue number BW 0101012 on the reverse,

122 x 107 cm, Est: $15,000-20,000, Joel Fine Art, Aboriginal Art, Melbourne, 03/06/2008, Lot No. 54 



Untitled 2003

Synthetic polymer paint on linen, bears artist's name, size, Papunya Tula Artists catalogue number BW0301182 on the reverse,

183 x 153 cm, Est: $15,000-20,000, Sotheby's, Important Aboriginal Art, Melbourne, 24/07/2007, Lot No. 190


For more information visit


Bobby West Tjupurrula Biography

Papunya Tula artists at the National Gallery of Victoria with curator Judith Ryan.
From left: Bobby West Tjupurrula, Long Jack Phillipus Tjakamarra, Ronnie Tjampitjinpa and Mike Tjakamarra standing in front of a 1991 work by Ronnie Tjampitjinpa, Wartunuma.

Bobby West Tjupurrula is the son of Freddy West Tjupurrula, one of the original shareholders of Papunya Tula Artist. 

Bobby West Tjupurrula biography page 417, Aboriginal Artists dictionary of biographies.

Bobby West Tjupurrula was born circa 1958 at Rockhole site at Tjamu Tjamu which lies east of Kiwirrkurra in Western Australia. Bobby West is the son of one of the original shareholders of Papunya Tula Artists, Freddy West Tjakamarra (1932-1994) who was one of the original painters for the Papunya Tula Artists.

Bobby West is a traditional owner of Kiwirrkura and has been the official spokes person for Papunya Tula.  

Bobby West Tjupurrula started painting for Papunya Tula Artists in the 1980s. He has exhibited in 41 group shows, had a solo exhibition at William Mora Galleries, Melbourne in 2002 and has work in 3 public collections at home and abroad.


1999 men collaborative painting depicting the Tingari story men from Kiwirkurra and Balgo, was purchased by National Museum Berlin in Germany. (The other artists were Jonny Yungut Tjupurrula, Kanya Tjapangati, Patric Tjungurrayi, Tjumpo Tjapanangka and Walala Tjapangati).

2001 Bobby West won Alice Springs Art Award

2002 finalist the 19th Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award prior to winning the Telstra General Painting Award

2003 Art in Residency Fireworks Gallery Brisbane.

2006 'Rising Stars' in Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi Melbourne

2011 Art in Residency Fireworks Gallery Brisbane

2011 Bobby West Tjupurrula won 2011 TELSTRA GENERAL PAINTING Art AWARD WINNER Telstra General Painting Award in the 28th Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award

Tjupurrula is from Kiwirrkura in Western Australia and painted a depiction of an ancestral story from that region. The story tells of Tingari Men becoming confronted by a large and fatal bushfire at the rockhole site of Tarkulnga.

The announcement of winners took place in Darwin at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory Thursday 11 August 2011, the exhibition will run until 15 October 2011. More at:



Bobby West Tjupurrula work is widely acknowledged in Australia and through the world

The National Museum Berlin

Kelton Foundation California USA

Art Gallery of New South Wales

Royal Museum of Fine Arts Copenhagen Denmark

Art Gallery South Australia

Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory

Northern Territory Museum of Arts and Science

Queensland Art Gallery

Homes a Court Collection

Art Bank Sydney

Art Gallery of Western Australia

Art Gallery of New South Wales
Works by Bobby West Tjupurrula (1958– ) the Collection of Art Gallery of NSW


A major exhibition on the origins of Western Desert art is set to open at the Musee du Quai Branly in Paris in October. Curated by Judith Ryan and Philipp Batty for the National Gallery of Victoria, Tjukurrtjanu opened in Melbourne last year, examining “a watershed moment in the history of art when a painting practice emerged at Papunya”. More than 160 of the first paintings produced there during 1971 and 1972 will be shown in Paris, together with almost 100 objects and photographs from the period. The Musee du Quai Branly’s website, describes the significance of the show thus: “By transposing to recycled wooden panels the motifs employed in ephemeral ritual paintings, the Aborigine [sic] artists of Papunya created an astonishingly inventive formal art, saturated with meaning. These works change the manner of understanding the territory and conceiving the history of Australian art.”

The Paris exhibition is just one of the events occurring in the second half of this year that gives Papunya Tula Artists – the desert’s oldest painting company and still the benchmark of independence and achievement – reason to be optimistic.

Along with the entire art market, the company has been experiencing a “cooling off”, says manager Paul Sweeney, but he sees it as a good thing. It has meant fewer people out there chasing artists to churn out paintings, and this has helped check the illusion in the minds of some artists “that everything they painted was gold”. Only in “a very few cases” has that been true, he says.

The rate of production has slowed, from around 300 works a month at the height of the market to a more manageable 100, yet there is still plenty of energy and commitment amongst artists as well as keen interest in their work by art lovers and collectors in Australia and around the world.

From hectic to just busy

The galleries that represent the company interstate were telling them “that things were slowing down” well before they felt it in Alice Springs, says Mr Sweeney. While the pace has now gone from “hectic to just busy” which is “kinda nice”, the second half of the year is building to a certain tempo: “We’ve definitely not gone into our shells. We’re still doing the same number of shows.”

The celebrations to mark its 40th year will culminate with their annual show in Alice Springs, on the last Friday of November, into which “we’ll pour everything”, says Mr Sweeney. The Araluen Arts Centre will mark the occasion with a parallel exhibition, reflecting on the relationship of the people of Alice Springs with the company, showing works collected by locals over the decades.


Aboriginal people inherit stories called “dreaming”.  Each story may include songs, ceremonial dances and rituals creating unique beliefs that the Aboriginal people live by. All stories and beliefs are related to the land and thus the land is great importance to them. The land is the keeper of the stories and must be kept safe for all time so that the stories, which are told in paintings, can be preserved. In modern representation is the sacred aspect of painting is not always completely revealed but the meaning, transmitted through symbols remains, and can be understood.

Aboriginal people believe that the Universe was created by spirits (mystical beings) setting the blueprint for all time the way human may govern their conduct.

The spirits gathered their food, dug for water, performing ceremonies as the Aboriginal do it today but the landscape stay unchanged.

During the Creation Time spirits shaped all the landscape; hills and water holes and given humans all the sacred laws. That time was known as “Dreamtime” and it came to the end and their ancestor changed into landscape, they turn into a rock or mountain range, an isolated hill, river or even trees arose to mark the place.

Aboriginal people look upon these spirits creators as ancestors. Aboriginal believe in an existing connection to their ancestor spirit and to the land. They are spiritual biological beings appreciative of the fragility of the nature and making an effort to live in harmony with the environment. Since every Aboriginal descent of the mythical beings of the “Dreamtime” each person is linked by myth and tribal relationship with the landscape, the rocks and watercourses, and everything else in his tribal country.

Aboriginal Philosophy of life

The philosophy of life, known as Dreamtime (Tjurrkurpa) is based on tradition conceived by totemic ancestors. Men and women believe to be direct descendants in spirit of “mythical architects” who created the land and different totems; kangaroo, Emu, turkey, lizards and the land in which they live. Aboriginal feel special affinity with their related totem animal species.

It is believed that sacred ceremonies have to be re-enacted on a regular basis to maintain the animal species and ensure survival of the humans.

Each family owns a special area of land and must protect sacred sites representing their personal totems Dreamtime spirits. People travel long distances from all directions to participate in the initiation ceremonies and to educate the young. The journey could last days or several months and women hunt and collect food during the voyage.

In mythological times a large group of Tingari Men came from the rockhole site of Yunula west of the Pollock Hills in Western Australia. They travelled east to Kiwikurra and then further east passing through Pinari and onto Warlukurlangu, south-east of the Yuendumu Community. The four arcs represent men who were hit by hail-stones and are sitting recovering

Aboriginal Secret language

Concentric circle represents a waterhole or a meeting place.

Oval shape symbolize a coolamon which is a wooden bowl used to carry food, water and even babies.

Didgeridoo originated from a northern part of Australia and it is a musical instrument producing profound and remarkable rhythmic sound. It is made from a hollow small tree or a branch of a tree eaten out by termites.

Music sticks comprise of a pair wooden sticks and used in ceremonies as a common drumming instrument to keep the rhythm of the song and dance and to accompany the didgeridoo.

Boomerang are made of mulga-wood and often used by men as a music drumming instrument for ceremonies, there are some variation in length and thickness. Returning boomerangs are mainly found in lake and swamp areas used traditionally by men to scare birds from water ways into pre-nests.

Digging sticks are simple hardwood sticks with sharpen and fired harden point mainly used by women for digging water, lizards, rabbits, witchetty grubs and edible roots.


Literature Source & FURTHER REFERENCES

Bobby West Tjupurrula biography: page 417, Aboriginal Artists: Dictionary of Biographies: Central Desert, Western Desert and Kimberley Region
JB Publishing Australia, Marleston, 2004,
Kreczmanski, Janusz B and Birnberg, Margo

Aboriginal Artists of the Western Desert - A Biographical Dictionary by Vivien Johnson, published by Craftsman House 1994

The Oxford Companion to Aboriginal Art and Culture edited by Sylvia Kleinert and Margo Neale published by OUP 2000

Aboriginal Artists: Dictionary of Biographies: Central Desert, Western Desert & Kimberley Region JB Publishing Australia, Marleston, 2004

Brody, A. 1989 Utopia women’s Paintings: the First Works on Canvas, A summer Project, 1988-89 exhib. Cat. Heytesbury Holdings, Perth Brody

A. 1990 Utopia, a picture Story, 88 Silk Batiks from the Robert Homes a Court Gallery and gallery Collection, Heytesbury Holdings LTD Perth NATSIVAD database, Latz, P. 1995, Bushfires & Bushtucker, IAD Press, Alice Springs

Brody, A. 1989 Utopia women’s Paintings: the First Works on Canvas, A summer Project 1988-89 exhib. Cat. Heytesbury Holdings, Perth Brody

Amadio, N. und Kimber, R., Wildbird Dreaming. Aboriginal Art from the Central Deserts of Australia, Greenhouse Publ., Melbourne 1988; Auckland City Art Gallery, Auckland 1990, Ausst. Kat.; Australian Aboriginal Art from the Collection of Donald Kahn. Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami (Hrsg.), 1991, Ausst. Kat.; Droombeelden - Tjukurrpa. Groninger Museum (Hrsg.), Groningen 1995, Ausst. Kat.; Isaacs, J., Australia´s Living Heritage. Arts of the Dreaming, Lansdowne Press, Sydney 1984; Isaacs, J., Australian Aboriginal Paintings. Lansdowne, Sydney 1989, ISBN 186302011X; Johnson, V., Aboriginal Artists of the Western Desert. A Biographical Dictionary, Craftsman House, East Roseville 1994, ISBN 9768097817; Modern Art - Ancient Icon. The Aboriginal Gallery of Dreamings (Hrsg.), o.O. 1992, ISBN 0646080520; Nangara. The Australian Aboriginal Art Exhibition from the Ebes Collection. The Aboriginal Gallery of Dreamings (Hrsg.), Melbourne 1996, Ausst. Kat.; Stourton, P. Corbally, Songlines and Dreamings. Lund Humphries Publ., London 1996, ISBN 0853316910; The Painted Dream. Contemporary Aboriginal Paintings. Johnson, V. (Hrsg.), Auckland City Art Gallery, Auckland 1991, Ausst. Kat.; Tjinytjilpa. The Dotted Design. Aboriginal Art Galleries of Australia (Hrsg.), Melbourne 1998, Ausst. Kat.; Traumzeit - Tjukurrpa. Kunst der Aborigines der Western Desert. Die Donald Kahn-Sammlung, Danzker, J.B. (Hrsg.), Prestel, München und New York 1994, Ausst. Kat.; Voices of the Earth. Paintings, Photography and Sculpture from Aboriginal Australia. Gabrielle Pizzi (Hrsg.), Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne 1996, Ausst. Kat., ISBN 0646288954.



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