Walala Tjapaltjarri

(Biography courtesy of Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs.)


In the three years Walala Tjapaltjarri has been painting, he has gained world-wide recognition, participating in several national and international solo and group exhibitions. His paintings are represented in private and public collections in Australia, Europe and the U.S.A.

Walala Tjapaltjarri was first introduced to painting by his brother Warlimpirrnga, also a painter of international acclaim. While Walala's first paintings were in a classical Tingari style usually reserved for body painting, ground painting and the decoration of traditional artefacts, within a couple of months of painting he evolved his own innovative style of work. He began abstracting the classical Pintupi designs, creating a highly graphic language to speak of his country and ceremonial sites. The rectangles so prominent in his paintings form both a physical and spiritual map establishing Walala as a discerning draughtsman for his ancient country.

In late 1984, Walala and several other members of the Pintupi Tribe walked out of the remote wilderness of the Gibson Desert in Western Australia and made contact for the first time with European society. Described as 'The Lost Tribe', he and his family created international headlines. Until that day in 1984, Walala and his family lived the traditional and nomadic life of a hunter-gatherer society. Their intimate knowledge of the land, its flora and fauna and waterholes allowed them to survive, as their ancestors had for thousands of years.

It is this sacred landscape with its significant sites that Walala so strikingly describes in his paintings. His style is strongly gestural and boldly graphic, one that is generally highlighted by a series of rectangles set against a monochrome background. He paints the Tingari Cycle (a series of sacred and secret mythological song cycles) which are associated with the artist's many dreaming sites - they are Wilkinkarra, Maruwa, Tarrku, Njami and Yarrawangu, to name a few. These Dreamings are the locations of significant rockholes, sandhills, sacred mountains and water soakages in the Gibson Desert.


Group Exhibitions

1997 14th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Darwin, N.T.
1998 Tingari-My Dreaming, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle, W.A.
1998 15th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Darwin, N.T.
1999 Spirit Country The California Palace of the Legion of Honour, San Francisco, U.S.A.;
Painting the Desert Alliance Francaise de Canberra and the French Embassy. Canberra, A.C.T.;
Recent Works by Walala Tjapaltjarri and Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri, Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London;
Tingari Cycle, Fireworks Gallery, Brisbane, Queensland;
16th National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Darwin, N.T.
2000 Lines, Fireworks Gallery, Brisbane, Queensland;
My Country - Journeys of our Ancestors Ancient Earth Indigenous Art, Cairns, Queensland;
Walala Tjapatjarri and Dr George Tjapaltjarri, Cooee Aboriginal Art Gallery, Sydney, New South Wales;
Landmarks Exhibition, Dar Festival, Brisbane Powerhouse, Queensland;
Fifth National Indigenous Heritage Art Award, Australian Heritage Commission, Canberra
Songlines: Walala Tjapaltjarri & Dorothy Napangardi, Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London, England;
17th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Darwin, N.T.;
Melbourne ArtFair 2000, Melbourne, Australia;
2000-01 The Art of Place Exhibition, Australian Heritage Commission, National Tour


Solo Exhibitions


Tingari - Men's Business, Coo-ee Gallery, Sydney, New South Wales;
Walala Tjapaltjarri Paintings, Vivien Anderson Gallery, Melbourne, Victoria;
Tingari Cycle an exhibition of works by Walala Tjapaltjarri, Fire-Works Gallery, Brisbane, Queensland



  • AMP Investments Australia, Sydney
  • Axiom Funds Management, Sydney
  • Gantner Myer Aboriginal Art Collection CNC International Corporation, Sydney
  • Deutsche Morgan Grenfell, Perth
  • El Paso Energy International Co, Houston, Texas
  • Epic Energy Australia, Brisbane, QLD. Flinders University, Adelaide
  • Hastings Funds Management, Melbourne, VIC. Kaplan & Levi Collection, Seattle, U.S.A.
  • New South Wales Art Gallery, Sydney
  • The Kelton Foundation, Santa Monica, U.S.A.

Tingari Cycle
AUD 850

56cm x 52cm
Acrylic on linen

Tingari Cycle
AUD 1350

123cm x 49cm
Acrylic on linen

Tingari Cycle
AUD 1200

90cm x 55cm
Acrylic on linen

Tingari Cycle
AUD 1800

107cm x 61cm
Acrylic on linen

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