Thomas Tjapaltjarri

Thomas Tjapaltjarri

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DOB: c.1964
COMMUNITY: Kiwirrkurra, WA

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' works explore the stories of the Tingari cycle. Tingari are the legendary Dreamtime 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.


  • Hank Ebes Collection, Melbourne
  • The Henderson Family Collection, Sydney
  • Pat Corrigan Collection, Sydney
  • Luciano Benetton Collection, Venice
  • Fondation Burkhardt-Felder Arts et Culture, Moitiers, Switzerland


Selected Group Exhibitions

2021 Private Collection | Private View: One Collector's Passion & Soul, Cooee Art, Redfern
2021 50 Years of Papunya Tula Artists, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2021 Voyage across Aboriginal Australia - Founders' Favourites, Fondation Burkhardt-Felder Arts et Culture, Moitiers, Switzerland
2020 Central Focus, Art Mob, Hobart
2019 An Exhibition on TJAPALTJARRI Brothers from the Indigenous Lost Tribe, Mandel Aboriginal Art Gallery, Melbourne
2019 Defining Tradition: the first wave & its disciples, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2019 Pintupi Artists of the Western Desert, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle, WA
2018 Three Brothers, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2012 Meeting Cultures: Australian Contemporary Aboriginal Art - ARTECLASICA (Argentina Art Fair)
2010 Lost Tribe, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney