Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri

Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri is one of the most renowned contemporary Aboriginal artists and one of the most famous Western Desert artists.

Thus his work is highly sought after. He grew up in the bush around Jay Creek working at several stations as a stockman.

He was an expert wood-carver and took up painting long before Papunya Tula, the school of dot painting, was established by schoolteacher Geoffrey Bordon. 

It was his brother, Tim Laura, who encouraged him to paint with the Geoffrey Bardon group of painting men during the 70's, after joining this group of dot and circle painters

Clifford quickly distinguished himself as one of the most talented members. 

His works have an unrivalled complexity and are often very large. 

Later he was employed as a teacher at Papunya. He taught woodcarving and was the chairman of Papunya Tula Artists in the early 80's

Clifford's career was ground-breaking as he was amongst a few indigenous Australian artists to be recognized by the international art world trailblazing for future generations and bridging the gap between Aboriginal art and contemporary Australian art.


2021-2022 ‘Irrititja Kuwarri Tjungu (Past & Present Together): 50 years of Papunya Tula Artists’, Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, USA
2021 ‘Lineage & Legacy’, Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs, Australia
2020 ‘Mapa Wiya (Your Map’s Not Needed): Australian Aboriginal Art from the Fondation Opale', The Menil Collection, Houston, USA
2015 ‘Signs and Traces. Contemporary Aboriginal Art.’ Zamek Cultural Centre, Poznan, Poland
2010 ‘Desert Country’, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia
2006 Aboriginal Art, Art Gallery of Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia
1994 ‘Yiribana’, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
1994 ‘Power of the Land, Masterpieces of Aboriginal Art’, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia
1994 ‘Dreamings - Tjukurrpa: Aboriginal Art of the Western Desert; The Donald Kahn collection’, Museum Villa Stuck, Munich, Germany
1993-1994 ‘ARATJARA, Art of the First Australians’, Touring: Kunstammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf, Germany; Hayward Gallery, London, UK; Louisiana Museum, Humlebaek, Denmark
1993 ‘Tjukurrpa, Desert dreamings: Aboriginal Art from Central Australia (1971-1993)’, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
1992 ‘Crossroads-Towards a New Reality, Aboriginal Art from Australia National Museums of Modern Art’, Kyoto and Tokyo, Japan
1991 ‘Canvas and Bark’, South Australian Museum, Adelaide, Australia
1991 Australian Aboriginal Art from the Collection of Donald Kahn, Lowe Art Museum - University of Miami, Miami, USA
1991 ‘Aboriginal Art and Spirituality’, High Court, Canberra, Australia
1990 ‘Contemporary Aboriginal Art from the Robert Holmes à Court Collection, Harvard University, Cambridge; University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; Lakewood Centre for the Arts, Lake Oswego, USA
1990 ‘L'été Australien à Montpellier’, Musee Fabre Gallery, Montpellier, France
1989 ‘Aboriginal Art: The Continuing Tradition’, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia
1989 ‘A Myriad of Dreaming: Twentieth Century Aboriginal Art’, Westpac Gallery, Melbourne; Design Warehouse Sydney, Australia
1988 ‘Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri: Paintings 1973-1986’, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, UK
1988 5th Telstra NATSIAA, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin, Australia
1988 ‘Dreamings: The Art of Aboriginal Australia’, The Asia Society Galleries, New York City, USA
1987 ‘Aboriginal Art from the Central Desert and Northern Arnhem Land’, Community Arts Centre, Brisbane, Australia
1987 ‘Circle Path Meander’, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia
1985 ‘The Face of the Centre: Papunya Tula Paintings’, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia
1985 ‘Dot and Circle, a retrospective survey of the Aboriginal acrylic paintings of Central Australia’, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Australia
1984 Aboriginal Art, an Exhibition Presented by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Canberra, Australia
1984 Painters of the Western Desert: Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, Paddy Carroll Tjungurrayi and Uta Uta Tjangala, Adelaide Arts festival, Adelaide, Australia
1983 XVII Bienal de Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
1981-82 'Aboriginal Australia’, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth; Australian Museum, Sydney; Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia
1981 ‘Australian Perspecta (with Tim Leura)’, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
1980 ‘Papunya Tula’, Macquarie University Library, Sydney, Australia
1980 ‘The Past and Present of the Australian Aborigine’, Pacific Asia Museum, Los Angeles, USA

Born in *unknown* in 1933

Died in Alice Springs on June 21st, 2002

Site: Monkey Rep