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Country: Great Sandy Desert
Skin Group: Japangarti
“I was born in the 1930s near Nampinpa country in the Great Sandy Desert. I grew up in Yimpurrpa and travelled down the Canning Stock Route. My mother Wayurla Napurrula passed away at Tangku and my father at Nampinpa.When I was about 12 or 13 years old, my sister Ngamapu Napangardi took me to Christmas Creek. The station manager there was a kartiya [European] who sent me to Yeeda Station to work. I returned to Christmas Creek as a stockman. I used to walk around or use a donkey to get around. I drove bullocks across the Tanami Desert from Balgo to Alice Springs and worked in every station.
I began painting at Karrayili in Wangkajunga. In the 1990s I began to make artefacts and carvings. I’ve been painting with Mangkaja Arts since the late 1990s.”
George Tuckerbox is the brother of Wimmitji Tjapangarti. He now lives in Wangkatjungka with his wife Mayapu Elsie Thomas.
When George Tuckerbox was about 12 or 13 years old he arrived at Christmas Creek station. Already he had family there – his sister Ngamapu Napangardi, had come to collect him. The station manager sent him on to Yeeda Station, where he learned the skills of station life. George Tuckerbox then returned to Christmas Creek as a stockman. In order to travel around in those days, George Tuckerbox would either walk or ride a donkey. As a stockman, George Tuckerbox drove bullocks across the Tanami Desert, from Balgo to Alice Springs, and worked on many of the cattle stations along the way.
Today George Tuckerbox lives at Wangkatjungka Community, adjacent to Christmas Creek station. He produced his first paintings there in the 1990s.
In 1987 George Tuckerbox was one of the Wangkatjungka elders who travelled from Fitzroy Crossing to Tokyo, to present the Kurtal ceremonial dance and song cycle, that was part of an art exhibition and cultural performance staged in central Tokyo. George Tuckerbox’s paintings represent the country where he grew up, the waterholes and hunting grounds belonging to his ancestors.
2003 Artists of Wangkajungka, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle
2004 Paintings from Wangkatjungka, Fire-Works Gallery, Brisbane
2004 Striking Colours of the Living Desert, Walkabout Gallery, Sydney
2004 Artists of Wangkatjungka, Raintree Gallery, Darwin
2004 Tali and Jila, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle
2005 Artists of Wangkatjungka, Hogarth Gallery, Sydney
2005 Wangkatjungka Artists, Walkabout Gallery, Sydney
2005 Big Country Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs
2005 Wangkatjungka, Ladner and Fell Gallery, Melbourne
2006 Wangkatjungka – Artists of the Great Sandy Desert, ART MOB, Hobart
2007 Wangkatjungka Mapping Country, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle, WA
2007 Desert Mosaic, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle, WA
2008 Wangkatjungka Artists: Canning Stock Route, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle, WA
2013 Landmarks and Law Grounds: Men of the Desert, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA