Born c. 1944
William was born near Ernabella in South Australia in Pitjantjatjara country.
His fathers and grandfathers country is Winkilini which is further south in South
Australia. Kunapi, far to the south of Papunya is his country from his grandmother
and mothers side. He paints Dingo, Emu, Woman, Green Bean and other dreaming stories
for this country. He grew up walking around these places and further to the north around
Hermannsburg, Areyonga and Haasts Bluff.
Eventually the family settled at Ernabella, where William attended the mission school.
From here William Sandy came to Papunya in 1973 and married Violet Nakamarra, sister
of Michael Nelson Jagamara. They have four children, a boy and three girls, one adopted.
From the time of his arrival in Papunya settlement, William worked for the Papunya
Council. From the late '80's, he and his wife have been health workers with the
Papunya Medical Service. William has recently stopped other employment to
concentrate on his painting. He did his first paintings in 1975, teaching
himself after watching the other artists at work. However, it was not until
the early '80's that he began painting full-time for galleries including Papunya
Tula Artists group.
In 1985 he won the Northern Territory Art Award. His work was included in the
'Dreamings' show which toured the USA in 1988-9, and in the subsequent show of
Papunya Tula Artists at the John Weber Gallery in New York.
He had a solo exhibition in 1990 at Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, and the Aboriginal
Desert Art Gallery Melbourne 1994-95-96-97-98; Grand Hyatt, Jakarta 1992;
London 1993; Sydney 1994-95-96-97-98; Australian Embassy Washington and New York 1999.
William's wife, Violet Nakamarra, has also painted occasionally since the early '80's.
Collections: Holmes à Court, Broken Hill Art Gallery, Woollongong City Art Gallery,
Here are some examples of the work by William Sandy.
Additional information can be found in Aboriginal Artists of the
Western Desert - A Biograpical Dictionary, by Vivien Johnson