Willy Tjungurrayi was born around 1930 at Patjantja, south west of Lake Mackay in Central Australia . He is the younger brother of Yala Yala Gibbs Tjungarrayi, and the older brother of
George Tjungurrayi, both of these men also established highly collectable artists.
Willy grew up in the bush living a traditional life and was brought with his family to Haasts Bluff in the late 1950s when he was a young man. He moved to Papunya where he started painting for Papunya Tula Artists in 1976.
In the 1980s he emerged as one of the senior Pintupi painters. He paints stories linked to the Tingari Song Cycles relating to these places. The artist's senior position in his community entitles him to paint the most significant and secret parts of the Tingari stories, many of which cannot be revealed to the uninitiated.
He tends to paint with a restrained palette (browns, oranges, dusky pinks and creams) typical of many of the Papunya artists. His recent work is comprised of irregular lines of very fine, pale dotting on a coloured background, resulting in subtle, elegant, linear images.
1973 “Warlpiri and Pintubi Art”, Angaston.
1981 “Aboriginal Artists of Australia ‘Dot and Circle’”, Royal Institute of Technology.
1982 Georges Gallery, Melbourne.
1982 Brisbane Festival, Brisbane.
1982 Mori Gallery, Sydney.
1983 “Papunya: painting from the Central Australian Desert”, touring exhibition, America and Europe.
1985 “Dot and Circle, a Retrospective Survey of the Aboriginal Acrylic Paintings of Central Australia”, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne.
1986 National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.
1987 “Art and Aboriginality”, Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth, UK.
1989 “Aboriginal Art: The Continuing Tradition”, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.
2004 Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne.
2004 “Australian Aboriginal Art Collector's Exhibition”, Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne.
1989 Westpac Gallery, Melbourne.
1989 ”Mythscapes”, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.
1991 “The Painted Dream: Contemporary Aboriginal Paintings from the Tim and Vivien Johnson Collection”, Auckland Art Gallery and Te Whare Taonga o Aoteroa National Art Gallery, New Zealand.
1993 Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth.
1994 “Central Australian Aboriginal Art and Craft Exhibition”, Araluen Centre, Alice Springs.
1994 “Yiribana”, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.
1999 Flinders Art Museum Flinders University, Adelaide.
2000 Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs.
2000 “Twenty-five years and Beyond”, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney.
2001 "Pintupi", Alice Springs.
2003 Galley Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne.
2006 “Their Country”, Art Equity, Sydney.
2007 “Papunya Tula Artists”, Gallery Gabriella Pizzi, Melbourne.
2007 “Utopia and Beyond 2007 - Aboriginal desert Art from East to West”, Coo-ee Aboriginal Art, Sydney.
2008 “Black & White: Inspired By Landscape”, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney.
2008 “Pintupi” - online exhibition, Central Art Aboriginal Art Store, Alice Springs.
2009 “Indigenous Art Collectors Exhibition”, Linton & Kay Fine Art Gallery, Perth.
2009 “Winter Warmers”, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney.