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.
Zhu Peihong "My Space" @ MOSMAN, Friday 9-29 March, 2018
"'My space' is in such a state: express “the reality I realized”, and reality exist through consciousness, saying, paintings let the invisible become visible, rather than the visible reproduced. When I paint, I lie my work on a table, the process is like drawing a Chinese painting, not an oil painting. Different pigments will wait to dry on the canvas, drawing over and over for a long time until accomplished. The indefinite extension of the painting process blurs the boundary of the beginning and the end of the creation. Which brings a very subtle experience, and result in a quite different appearance compared to other works. During the 8 years, after several changes and advances, I have broken the spatial relationship of painting, and broken through the limitations of two-dimensional canvas. I use ready-made product, pigment, spirited strokes to create a vital space.” - Zhu Peihong
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