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.
Sadly, Willy Tjungurrayi passed away in 2018.