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Thomas Tjapaltjarri

DOB: c. 1964

BORN: Western Desert
LANGUAGE GROUP: Pintupi
COUNTRY:
Karrinwara, Western Australia

Thomas Tjapaltjarri (born Tamayinya Tjapangati) was born in the Western Desert, where he and his family lived a traditional nomadic way of life near Lake Mackay, a vast glistening salt lake spanning 3,500 sq km (1,350 sq miles) between the Gibson and Great Sandy deserts of what would become known under Federation, as Western Australia.

In 1984, Thomas Tjapaljarri was one of a party of nine Pintupi speakers who made their first contact with non-Aboriginal people when they walked out of the desert west of Lake Mackay into the small Kiwirrkura community, just inside the West Australian border.

Tjapaltjarri began painting in December 1987, a few years after settling at Kiwirrkurra. His brother Warlimpirrnga had already made a name for himself as an artist and he encouraged Tjapaltjarri to paint too. Tjapaltjarri and Walala joined the Papunya Tula artists, and they and Warlimpirrnga eventually gained fame internationally as the Tjapaltjarri Brothers.

His paintings depict stories from the Pintupi dreaming. They are mostly about places and events in the Tingari cycle (a cycle of myths about the ancestors of the Pintupi). His designs are inspired by those painted on the body during ceremonies. He uses acrylic paints on canvas, sticking to earthy colours (black, white and ochres).

 

Stories, or 'Dreamings,' of the Tingari Cycle are an important body of myth concerning the Tingari ancestors of the creative Dreamtime (or 'Dreaming'), period. The Tingari men and women traveled across great distances and laid down a body of ceremonies and other law which subsequently formed the basis of young men's higher (meaning post-initiation) education. The stories themselves are communicated only to initiated men.

The day the Pintupi Nine entered the modern world (external link to the BBC)

Thomas Tjapaltjarri 182x300cm.jpg

Title: Tingari west of Lake Mackay

Artist: Thomas Tjapaltjarri

Acrylic on linen

Painted: 2004

Size: 182cm x 300cm approximately

Catalogue number: TTJ0402

Price: POA

Provenance: Mason Australia Pty Ltd
> Private Collection

Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

WEL-TT-A.jpg

Title: Tingari Cycle

Artist: Thomas Tjapaltjarri

Acrylic on canvas

Painted: 2010

Size: 156cm x 124cm approximately

Catalogue number: AMA/TT981/10

Price: POA

Provenance: Aboriginal and Modern Art Gallery of Australia (AMAGOA) > Private Collection

Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

WEL-TT-A
WEL-TT-B.jpg

Title: Tingari Cycle

Artist: Thomas Tjapaltjarri

Acrylic on canvas

Painted: 2017

Size: 201cm x 138cm approximately

Catalogue number: AMA/TT138/17

Price: POA

Provenance: Aboriginal and Modern Art Gallery of Australia (AMAGOA) > Private Collection

Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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