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Thomas Tjapaltjarri / Tingari (TTJ86)
120cm x 60cm Acrylic on CanvasView more from artist
120cm x 60cm Acrylic on Canvas
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How Artworks Are Sent
Ochre / Kimberley artworks are shipped on canvas or linen, already stretched, ready to hang unless stated otherwise.
Acrylic artworks are shipped on canvas or linen un-stretched, rolled up in a cardboard tube unless stated otherwise.
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Thomas Tjapaltjarri and his family created international headlines when they walked out of the desert west of Lake Mackay into the small Kiwirrkura community, just inside the West Australian border west of Alice Springs in 1984. Described as “The Lost Tribe” and “Pintubi Nine”, the last known group of people to make contact with white society, they survived for so long in the harsh environment of the Australian desert through their intimate knowledge of the land and its secrets, passed down from their ancestors for thousands of years, but eventually succumbed to the lack of water and the diminishing lack of bush tucker (kangaroos, lizards, snakes, goanna, and the underground sources of food which played such an important part of their diet, for vitamins and minerals).
Thomas is brother to Warlimpirrnga, Walala, Yukultji, Yalti and Tjakaria, also acclaimed artists. He began painting in approximately 1990 for the Papunya Tula Artists co-operative. In a short time he developed his own rhythmic visual language to depict country and ceremony.
Thomas depicts his sacred terrain in a strikingly unique way. His work displays uncommon strength, mathematical balance and poetic harmony. The subject of his work is the Tingari Cycle, secret song cycles sacred to men. The Tingari are a group of Ancestor Beings who the country associated with Walala’s many Dreaming sites, stretching from near the West Australian border to Central Australia. These Dreaming Sites and songs are depicted in the traditional ochre colours of the desert.
His paintings map both the physical and spiritual dimensions of his sacred country and his mastery of structure and composition put him as an artist at the forefront of contemporary painting.
Thomas is a quiet and reserved person that does not say much. People say that his mind is constantly back in time, living the traditional way of life he loved so much. Thomas still has difficulty coming to terms with the white man’s lifestyle however when he paints he quietly “sings his way” through the story of the work.
Thomas travels between his homeland of Kiwirrkura, one of the most remote settlements in Western Australia, and currently resides at the Aboriginal community of Kintore in the Northern Territory.
Thomas’ works are held in important private and corporate collections worldwide.
• Central Desert Showcase, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
• Survey, Works from the Dalrymple Community Cultural Centre Trust Collection, Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts, Townsville QLD
• Nations 2022, Art Mob, at the Henry Jones Art Hotel Packing Room, Hobart
• Connection, National Museum of Australia, Canberra
• Sandhill Country | Paintings of Inland Australia, Japingka Gallery, Freemantle
• Art Mob’s 20th Birthday Exhibition, Art Mob, Hobart
• Private Collection | Private View: One Collector’s Passion & Soul, Cooee Art, Redfern
• 50 Years of Papunya Tula Artists, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
• Voyage across Aboriginal Australia – Founders’ Favourites, Fondation Burkhardt-Felder Arts et Culture, Moitiers, Switzerland
• Central Focus, Art Mob, Hobart
• An Exhibition on TJAPALTJARRI Brothers from the Indigenous Lost Tribe, Mandel Art Gallery, Melbourne
• Defining Tradition: the first wave & its disciples, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
• Pintupi Artists of the Western Desert, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle, WA
• Warlimpirrnga, Walala and Thomas Tjaplajarri Exhibitions, Mitchell Fine Art Gallery, Brisbane
• Three Brothers, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
• Meeting Cultures: Australian Contemporary Aboriginal Art – ARTECLASICA (Argentina Art Fair)
• Lost Tribe, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
AWARDS AND RECOGNITION
• 2022 Connection | Songlines from Australia’s First Peoples in a spectacular immersive experience, National Museum of Australia, Canberra
• Hank Ebes Collection, Melbourne
• The Henderson Family Collection, Sydney
• Pat Corrigan Collection, Sydney
• Luciano Benetton Collection, Venice
• Fondation Burkhardt-Felder Arts et Culture, Motiers, Switzerland
• Dalrymple Community Cultural Centre Trust Collection, Charters Towers QLD
During the Tjukurrpa (Creation Era) Tingari ancestor beings gathered at a series of sites for Malliera (Initiation) Ceremonies. They travelled vast stretches of the country, performing rituals at specific sites that in turn created the diverse natural features of the environment (depicted here as the rectangles – the earth). The Tingari men were accompanied by novices and usually followed by Tingari Women. The creation stories and rituals form the songlines* and ceremonies of today, used in part for the teachings of the post initiatory youths, whilst also providing explanations for contemporary customs.
*Songlines are sung narratives of the landscape, singing tracks that weave across the country and enable every significant place to be known. At each location, rituals are performed that enact the knowledge associated with that specific place.
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