Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri

Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri

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DOB: c.1958

Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri was born sometime around 1958, east of Kiwirrkurra, Western Australia. Warlimpirrnga and his family which includes fellow artists Thomas, Walala, Yukultji, Yalti and Tjakaria led a completely nomadic life until they emerged from the desert around Wilkinkarra (Lake Mackay), coming to Kiwirrkurra in 1984. Dubbed "the Last Nomads" or "the group of nine", they had had no contact with western society until this point.
Amazingly, Warlimpirrnga transitioned from an utterly traditional lifestyle to commencing as an artist with Papunya Tula within three years. By 1988, he had his first exhibition in Melbourne.

Warlimpirrnga paints in two main styles, using geometric shapes to represent the Tingari story or lines interspersed with dotting for his dreaming concerning the sacred site of Lake Mackay of which he is the custodian. Warlimpirrnga employs a dotting technique shared with other Pintupi artists such as his brothers, Thomas and Walala, and with George Ward Tjungurrayi.

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.

Despite his late start to painting, Warlimpirrnga is regarded as a very serious artist. Today, Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri spends his time between Alice Springs and Kiwirrkurra in his home lands.

Highest Auction Result
Highest Auction Result is $286,471 including BP


  • Art Gallery of NSW
  • Kelton Foundation, USA
  • Macquarie Bank, Sydney
  • National Gallery of Victoria
  • National Musee Des Arts Africains et Oceaniens, Paris, France


Selected Exhibitions

1989 "Mythscapes" National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
1990 L'ete Australien a Montpellier, Musee Fabre Gallery, Montpellier, France
1991 "Friendly Country, Friendly People" Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs NT
1993 Aboriginal Art Exhibition
1999 Exhibition with Ray James, Tjangala, Melbourne VIC
2002 "Native Title Business" National Travelling Exhibition AUS
2003 "Kintore Kiwrrkurra" Melbourne VIC
2010 "Desert Icons" Australasian Arts Project, Singapore
2019 Defining Tradition: the first wave & its disciples, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2018 Three Brothers, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney