Ronnie was born around 1943 near Muyinnga, about
100 kilometers west of the Kintore ranges. His family
moved extensively across the Pintupi territory up
through the Northern Territory, living the traditional ways in
which his people have lived for over 40,000 years.
He was initiated into manhood in the early 1950's at Yumari
near his birthplace. Shortly afterwards, due to drought
conditions in the 1950's Ronnie and his family moved
towards Haast Bluff and then later joined relatives at the
newly settled Papunya community. He found work as a
fencer making the yards for cattle in the surrounding area.
It was during this time that he started to take an interest in
the art movement happening at the time. Shortly after he
commenced painting he communicated with his people his
desire to return to their traditional lands. The land being
central to the preservation of a culture dictated by its
presence. His goal was made possible by the establishment
of the Kintore settlement in 1981.
By being more in touch with his traditional lands and the
Dreaming, Ronnie soon emerged as a major artist of the
Papunya Tula group. His work reflects his direct ties with
his culture, retaining a purity that many other Aboriginal
artists have not achieved. Ronnie's work follows the strict
Pintupi style of strong circles joined together by connecting
lines relating to the people, the land, and the Dreamtime.
His work has a simplicity that makes it appealing yet
mysterious as the uninitiated try to understand what he is
painting. By painting the Dreamtime he is helping to
resurrect the Aboriginal culture as a whole, and allowing
outsiders insight in to one of the oldest cultures in the world.
This work is important to the spirituality of this land, bridging
the gap between European life and traditional
Born: c. 1943
Photographs and text copyright of Jinta Desert Art
Aboriginal life, which is important in exposing and healing
In 1988 Ronnie was the recipient of the coveted Alice
Springs Art Prize.
As a major Aboriginal artist, his work has featured in numerous
exhibitions and collections nationally and internationally.
In 1982 Ronnie exhibited at the Brisbane Festival, followed in
1988 at Expo ‘88, Brisbane. 1988 Art Gallery of South Australia,
Adelaide; 1987, 1988, 1989, 1993, 1996 Gallery Gabrielle
Pizzi, Melbourne. In 1990 his work was shown in Europe,
featuring at the National Gallery of Modern Art Rome.
1991 saw his work included in ‘Australian Aboriginal Art from
the Collection of Donald Kahn’ University of Miami U.S.A.
Also ‘Aboriginal Paintings from the Desert’ Union of Soviet
Artists Gallery Moscow, and Museum of Ethnographic Art St.
Petersburg Russia, 1994 ‘Dreamings’ Museum Villa Stuck
Munich. His works featured in the ‘Indigenous art of the
Dreamtime‘, held in the Foyer of the United Nations Building
1999, New York; and also in 1999 at the Fine Arts Museums
of San Francisco, USA. From 2001-2004 Ronnie’s works
featured in an exhibition ‘Mythology & Reality: Contemporary
Aboriginal Desert Art from the Gabrielle Pizzi Collection,’
Palazzo Bricherasio Turin, Italy; AAM Utrecht, Netherlands,
Jerusalem Centre for the Performing Arts, Israel; SH Irvin
Gallery, Sydney; Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne,
Collections: National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; National
Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Artbank, Art Gallery of New
South Wales, Sydney; Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide;
Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth; Campbelltown
City Art Gallery, Donald Khan Collection, Jinta Desert Art
Gallery Sydney,Aboriginal Desert Art Gallery, Alice Springs,
Bendigo Art Gallery, Victoria; Araluen Arts Centre, Alice
Springs; Lowe Art Museum University of Miami, Musee des
Arts Africans et Oceaniens Paris, Museum and Art
Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin; The Holmes a
Court Collection; Groninger Museum, The Netherlands.