Turkey Tolson was among the first of a slightly younger generation of artists to begin painting at Papunya in 1973. He studied and observed the work of older men, including Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri, George Maxwell Tjangala and Ray Inkamala Tjampitjinpa, before picking up the brush himself.
Turkey Tolson Tjupurrala was born just outside Ikuntji (Haasts Bluff) in 1938 however there is some evidence to support that his birth date could be around 1943. In the 1970s and early 1980s, Tolson returned to his ancestral land at Kintore. He quickly became involved with the community and as a result set up an out-station at Yuwalki, along the trail of the Kungka Kutjarra (Travels of Two Ancestral Women) which he represents so often in his canvases.
Tolson’s work evolved through a cycle of styles. His earlier, smaller works were unassuming, which were adapted to the accepted tradition of the Pintupi artists. In the late 1970s, he had produced several sizeable canvases in which the application of parallel circles and dotted bands that appeared to create an effect of hypnotic perfection to the viewer. The 1980’s was a period of visual probing for Tolson, his technical knowledge acquired over the journey enabled him to produce an individual technique of precise tonal effects combined with bold iconographic elements.
In addition painting Kungka Kutjarra his other renowned works include Straightening the spears and Tingari.