Walala Tjapaltjarri

Walala Tjapaltjarri
1960 ()

Country: Kiwirkurra
Nationality: Australian
Language group: Pintupi


In 1984 the international headlines were filled with the ’discovery’ of the last group of nine Australian Aborigines who had managed to retain their traditional lifestyle in complete isolation until the late 20th century. Until they looked for contact in 1984, they had never seen a white man. Six of these nine Aboriginals became artists, including Walala Tjapaltjarri. Walala was born around 1960 and his work consists primarily of square patterns that refer to different stories from the traditional Tingari story cycle. Walala often paints triptychs on which he depicts the holy places from the Dream Time (Aboriginal time of creation). These holy places are spread over the countryside west of Lake Makaay, including Mina Mina salt lake. In some of his work he also shows the initiation rituals of his Tingari ancestors that were held in the Gibson Desert. In his most impressive work he uses a limited palette of blacks and whites with red or yellow ochres. Walala is widely praised as an innovative and adventurous artist. His work is characterized by a combination of traditional patterns and a high degree of refined abstraction. He was praised among others by the art critic Robert Hughes (Time Magazine) and included in his BBC documentary series Beyond the Fatal Shore (2000).  


2017 Modern Masters, SmithDavidson Gallery, Miami, USA
2015 Signs and Traces, Contemporary Aboriginal Art, Cultural institute Zamek, Poznan, Poland

Artist's locations

view work by Walala Tjapaltjarri


Tingari Cycle #176

Tingari Cycle #247

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