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.
Chi Qun "Baseline" @ HARVEY GALLERIES, 22 March - 4 April 2019
‘I am thinking about the range of freedom. When we get freedom, restrictions appear at the same time. Maybe the restrictions are the foundation of freedom’ – Chi Qun
BORN 1950 Townsville, Australia STUDIES 1972-75 Queensland College of Art, Brisbane 1976-80 Jewellery Apprenticeship, Brisbane SOLO EXHIBITIONS 2015 Life is No Way To Treat An Animal. Trevor Victor Harvey Gallery. … read more →
Education 2003 Bachelor Fine Arts (Distinction) National Art School 1999 Julian Ashton Art School (part-time) 1995-97 Sydney Community Art School – Life Drawing/Painting 1984-5 Fine Arts Certificate, TAFE (part-time) 1982 … read more →
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