Thomas Tjapaltjarri

Thomas Tjapaltjarri
1964 (Marrawu, Western Australia)

Country: Wilkinkarra
Nationality: Australian
Language group: Pintupi


Thomas, or Tamayinya, was born in the Gibson Desert at Marruwa, Western Australia around 1964. He is one of the four men from the famous group of nine Pintupi Aborigines who suddenly emerged from the desert in 1984 and are known as "The Lost Tribe". When his older "brother" Warlimpirrnga rose to stature as a famous painter within a few years, Thomas and his half brother Walala also began painting. His mother Nanu Nangala and his sisters Yalti and Yukultji also paint for Papunya Tula Artists in Kiwirrkurra. Thomas has epilepsy and thus received a disability pension from the government from a young age. This soon earned him the nickname the 'Pensioner'. Thomas' Dreamings are mostly inspired by his native land around Wilkinkarra, south of Kiwirkurra. He paints simple, geometric motifs in a dotting-style that is much reminiscent of his brothers Walala and Warlimpirrnga but also of George Ward Tjungurrayi. Like them, Thomas paints the stories of the Tingari cycle. This is a cycle of mythological stories about the supernatural ancestors of the Pintupi who, during the formation of the earth, travelled around the country performing rites, teaching laws and shaping life and the landscape.


Maparntjarra, Salon 94, NYC, 2015
Desert Icons, Australasian Arts Project, Singapore, 2010
Kintore Kiwrrkurra, Melbourne VIC, 2003
Native Title Business, National Travelling Exhibition AUS, 2002
Exhibition with Ray James, Tjangala, Melbourne VIC, 1999
Aboriginal Art Exhibition, 1993
Friendly Country, Friendly People, Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs NT, 1991 L’ete Australien a Montpellier, Musee Fabre Gallery, Montpellier, France, 1990 Mythscapes, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 1989
Johnson Museum of Art from june 2016 – august 2016
Gabrielle Pizzi Gallery in Melbourne in 1988 


H. Ebes Collection

Artist's locations

view work by Thomas Tjapaltjarri

Tali Tjutja (Sand Hills) at Wanapatangu #418

Tingari #2896

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