Thomas Tjapaltjarri

Thomas, or Tamayinya, was born in the Gibson Desert at Marruwa, Western Australia around 1964. He is one of the four men from the famous group of nine Pintupi Aborigines who suddenly emerged from the desert in 1984 and are known as "The Lost Tribe". When his older "brother" Warlimpirrnga rose to stature as a famous painter within a few years, Thomas and his half brother Walala also began painting. His mother Nanu Nangala and his sisters Yalti and Yukultji also paint for Papunya Tula Artists in Kiwirrkurra. Thomas has epilepsy and thus received a disability pension from the government from a young age. This soon earned him the nickname the 'Pensioner'. Thomas' Dreamings are mostly inspired by his native land around Wilkinkarra, south of Kiwirkurra. He paints simple, geometric motifs in a dotting-style that is much reminiscent of his brothers Walala and Warlimpirrnga but also of George Ward Tjungurrayi. Like them, Thomas paints the stories of the Tingari cycle. This is a cycle of mythological stories about the supernatural ancestors of the Pintupi who, during the formation of the earth, travelled around the country performing rites, teaching laws and shaping life and the landscape.


Papunya 50 Years, 1971 – 2021, SmithDavidson Gallery Amsterdam, October 27 – December 12, 2021

2018 EXPO Chicago, SmithDavidson Gallery, Chicago, USA
2015 ‘Maparntjarra’, Salon 94, New York City, USA
2010 ‘Desert Icons’, Australasian Arts Project, Singapore
2003 ‘Kintore-Kiwrrkurra’, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne, Australia
2002 ‘Native Title Business', National Travelling Exhibition, Australia
1999 Exhibition with Ray James Tjangala, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne, Australia
1993 Aboriginal Art Exhibition
1989 ‘Friendly Country, Friendly People’, Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs, Australia
1991 ‘L’été Australien à Montpellier', Musée Fabre Gallery, Montpellier, France
1990 ‘Mythscapes’, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

Born in Marrawu, Western Australia on November 30th, 1963

Site: Hellingproof | Devign | Virtuo