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Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri

DOB: c. 1958

BORN: Tjuurlnga in the Angus Hills, east of Kiwirrkurra, Western Australia
Kiwirrkura, Western Australia

Warlimpirrnga was born in the late 1950s near Lake Mackay, east of where Kiwirrkurra is today. His family were Pintupi hunter-gatherers who lived a traditional nomadic way of life on the western side of the lake, and had never come into contact with Euro-Australian society. Warlimpirrnga's father died when he was a young boy, and his mother remarried shortly after. Warlimpirrnga himself married his cousin, Yalti, sometime around 1980. He served the family's main provider of food, hunting with spears, mirru (spear-throwers) and boomerangs.


In 1984, when Warlimpirrnga was about 25, he finally came into contact people from outside his family. Upon seeing a white man for the first time, Warlimpirrnga remembers, "I couldn't believe it. I thought he was a devil, a bad spirit. He was the colour of clouds at sunrise." A few days later, he and his family were settled at Kiwirrkurra. News of this group living nomadically so far into the modern world made headlines internationally.


Warlimpirrnga started painting in 1987, working with Papunya Tula. Initially practising under the tutelage of other artists at the company, he finished his first painting for them in April 1987. His first public exhibition was in Melbourne, the following year. It showed eleven of his paintings, all of which were bought for the National Gallery of Victoria. He has since become one of central Australia's most well-known artists.


Warlimpirrnga paints abstract images of sacred stories and songs from his family's Dreaming. The stories focus around the Tingari, the ancestors of the Pintupi, spirit beings who are believed to have created all living things. His stories are about his country and sacred sites such as Marruwa and Kanapilya. Warlimpirrnga has been at the forefront of the Aboriginal Art Movement for many years, and his paintings are an extraordinary visual experience, with subjects such as Snakes, Malu (Kangaroo) Dreaming and Tingari Dreaming, as well as important sites such as the many soakages and salt lakes of his homeland.


Warlimpirrnga was a finalist in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards in 2002, 2005 and 2009. His work is held in major public collections across Australia, such as in the National Gallery in Canberra, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and the National Gallery of Victoria. He also has work in galleries overseas, such as the Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac in Paris, and the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection at the University of Virginia. In 2012, his work was shown as part of the Documenta exhibition in Kassel, Germany. In September 2016, one of his paintings sold for £167,000 at Sotheby's in London, and in October 2016, he had his first solo exhibition in the United States, at the Salon 94 gallery in New York City.

Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri.jpg

Title: Tingari at Tarrku

Artist: Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri

Acrylic on Belgian Linen

Painted: 2003

Size: 180cm x 152cm approximately

Catalogue number: WTJ0304

Price: POA

Provenance: Mason Australia Pty Ltd
> Private Collection

Location: Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia

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