Walala Tjapaltjarri

To be Auctioned on July 25th 12 Noon

Tribe: Pintupi
Area: Central & Western Desert
Born: Born c. 1960

Walala Tjapaltjarri was born about 1960 at Marua, located east of Kiwirrkura in the Gibson Desert, Western Australia.

Walala was part of the famous “Lost Tribe”of 1984. At this time, Walala and eight other Pintupi relatives ””came out of the bush”” and came in contact with western society for the first time. The event made international headlines, arousing many feelings of curiosity and amazement worldwide. Prior to this, Walala and his relatives lived a nomadic life, surviving off the land.

His brother, Warlimpirrnga, who has also achieved international recognition for his art, introduced Walala to painting. Walala paints the Tingari Cycle, an important Dreaming for the Pintupi people. In the Dreamtime, the Tingari ancestors are said to have travelled through the land in the central and western desert areas, creating particular sites and teaching some Aboriginal law. The Tingari Cycle incorporates the sacred sites visited along the way, and also refers to the song cycles which describes and connect the artist to this journey.

Walala paints traditional Pintupi designs, combining them with his own unique and boldly graphic style. Walala incorporates many Dreaming sites in his paintings, including Wilkinkarra, Maruwa, Tarrku, Njami and Yarrawangu. These sites represent important rockholes, sandhills, landforms, water soakages and ceremonial sites found throughout the Gibson Desert.

Walala’s paintings have gained international recognition. He has participated in exhibitions worldwide, and his paintings are included in notable public and private collections worldwide.


1998 – 15th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award, Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory, Darwin.
1999 – “Painting of the Desert” French Embassy, Canberra, ACT
1999 – “Spirit Country”, The Californian Palace of the Legion of Honour, San Francisco, USA
1999 – 16th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award, Darwin, NT
2000 – “Landmarks” Exhibition, Darwin Festival
2000 – 5th National Indigenous Heritage Art Award, Australian Heritage Commission, Canberra, ACT
2000/01 – “The Art of Place”, Australian Heritage Commission, National Tour
2001 – 17th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award, Darwin, NT
2001 – Melbourne Artfair, Melbourne, Australia


New South Wales Art Gallery, Sydney
Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia

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