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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

John Tjakamarra

1974 (printed 2000)
Jon Rhodes

gelatin silver photograph on paper, edition 2/20 (sheet: 30.5 cm x 40.5 cm, image: 22.0 cm x 32.0 cm)

John Tjakamarra (c. 1937-1992), a Pintupi man born north of Kiwijurra, south of Kintore, made the long walk into Papunya settlement with his family in the early 1960s. The Papunya Tula painting movement, usually dated to the arrival of administrator Geoffrey Bardon in the early 1970s, saw Anmatyere, Luritja, Arrernte, Warlpiri and Pitjantjajara residents commit stories traditionally expressed in the soil or on the body to permanent, portable and marketable media: paint and boards. John Tjakamarra was one of the early painters at the settlement, whose work was brought together in Tjungunutja, a major exhibition at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory in 2017-2018. Late in life John Tjakamarra returned to Tjukurla, near his own Country. Jon Rhodes met him at Yayayi Bore in 1974, when Rhodes first started taking photographs on the theme of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal relationship to land. Since then Rhodes has told photographic stories of life in many Aboriginal communities. Photographs from his exhibition Cage of Ghosts, documenting attempts to preserve and protect important Aboriginal cultural sites in south-eastern Australia, have recently been published in his book of the same name.

Purchased 2008
© Jon Rhodes

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Jon Rhodes (age 27 in 1974)

John Tjakamarra

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency