Thomas Tjapaltjarri was born sometime around 1964 in the Gibson Desert, Western Australia. Thomas and his family which includes fellow artists Warlimpirrnga, Walala, Yukultji, Yalti and Tjakaria led a completely nomadic life until they emerged from the desert, coming to Kiwirrkurra in 1984. Dubbed “the Last Nomads” or “the Pintupi nine”, they had had no contact with western society until this point. Amazingly, he transitioned from an utterly traditional lifestyle to commencing as an artist within a matter of a few years and painting the traditional stories of his people.
Thomas paints simple, geometric designs and uses a dotting technique shared with other Pintupi artists such as his brothers, Warlimpirrnga and Walala, and with Willy and George Ward Tjungurrayi. Thomas’s works explore the stories of the Tingari cycle. Tingari are the legendary beings of the Pintupi people that travelled the desert performing rituals, teaching law, creating landforms and shaping what would become ceremonial sites. As far as we can know, the meanings behind Tingari paintings are multi-layered, however, those meaning are not available to the uninitiated.
Thomas, along with his brothers Walala and Warlimpirringa, has exhibited widely in almost all aboriginal galleries in Australia and overseas. They include: Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney; Cooee Gallery, Sydney; Artitja Fine Art, WA; Aranda Art, Melbourne; Gallery Woo Mang, Paris; and many many more.
Hank Ebes Collection, Melbourne, VIC
Similarly, Thomas’ work is widely collected both in Australia and overseas.
Johnny Romeo "Electric Boogaloo" @ MOSMAN, Friday 8-17 December, 2017
“ELECTRIC BOOGALOO is in many ways my love letter to hip hop and Pop culture. I’ve always admired the intrepid spirit of the early hip-hop pioneers, and the ways they used and reinterpreted the music and dance that surrounded them to create completely new forms of art. I definitely see parallels between the adventurous experimentation of hip-hop in the early 1980s, and my own approach to Pop culture sampling. At the same time, my rediscovery of the works of Pop provocateur Mel Ramos had me immediately drawn back to his kitsch fusion of brand names and pin up girls. The paintings in ELECTRIC BOOGALOO reflect this duality, between the rhythmic pull and street-hardened lyricism of hip-hop, and the boisterous Technicolour energy of Pop.” - Johnny Romeo
BORN Bath, England 1951 SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITION 2016 Trevor Victor Harvey Galleries, Sydney, Australia 2015 Mitchell Galleries, Brisbane, Australia 2015 Penny Contemporary, Hobart, Australia 2015 Observations of … read more →
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