Helicopter Tjungarrayi was born at Nynmi, west of Kiwirrkurra. From a young age, he learned locations of water sources and how to hunt for bush food. When Helicopter was a young boy he became very sick and some men who were in the area for mining exploration flew him to Balgo Mission in their helicopter. It was the first helicopter many of the people had seen and it earned Helicopter his name. Helicopter worked at the mission in Balgo where he met and married Napanangka Yukenbarri. Together they had six children and raised two of Napanangka's children from her first husband.
Helicopter paints the Great Sandy Desert/Gibson Desert area where he was born. His linear style is distinctive and the soak water is a central feature of his work. He has held solo exhibitions and joint exhibitions with Napanangka and with his daughter, Imelda Yukenbarri Gugaman. His exhibitions have taken him interstate and overseas. Helicopter is one of Warlayirti Artists’ leading artists and is a great ambassador for the Art Centre.
Courtesy of Warlayirti Artists