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.


2018 EXPO Chicago, SmithDavidson Gallery, Chicago, USA
2015 Maparntjarra, Salon 94, NYC
2010 Desert Icons, Australasian Arts Project, Singapore
2003 Kintore Kiwrrkurra, Melbourne VIC
2002 Native Title Business, National Travelling Exhibition AUS
1999 Exhibition with Ray James, Tjangala, Melbourne VIC
1993 Aboriginal Art Exhibition
1989 Friendly Country, Friendly People, Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs NT
1991 L’ete Australien a Montpellier, Musee Fabre Gallery, Montpellier, France
1990 Mythscapes, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
1989 Johnson Museum of Art from june 2016 – august 2016
1988 Gabrielle Pizzi Gallery in Melbourne 

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

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