Walala Tjapaltjarri – Tingari Cycle

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Walala Tjapaltjarri – Tingari Cycle


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Walala Tjapaltjarri and his family group were amongst the last nomadic desert dwellers to leave the desert to join their kinsmen in the small settlements that had grown around the periphery of their homelands. They were named “the Last Nomads” and “the Group of Nine” when they appeared in the tiny community of Kiwirrkura in Western Australia in 1984.

When the family came in from the desert it was a momentous event. Until then they had remained isolated from their relatives who had chosen to leave their desert homelands twenty years earlier.  The family group had roamed between waterholes around Lake Mackay, along the border country between Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Their diet was dominated by goanna and rabbit and bush-foods harvested from native plants.

Adapting to the new aspects of community life, in 1990 Walala watched in as his brother Warlimpirrnga began to paint. While Warlimpirrnga instructed Walala in the use of paints and canvas, from the outset he was seen to possess a bold and strikingly individual style.

Walala took to painting with the assuredness of a young man firmly grounded in his culture and intimately familiar with the sites he depicted. His subject from the outset was that of the Tingari cycle, a series of sacred and secret men’s mythological song cycles associated with a number of related sites in his country around the Gibson Desert of Western Australia.   Strongly gestural and boldly graphic this painting features red, yellow and white rectangles, with dotted and abutting lines set against a stark black background. This strong, masculine, and contemporary style is what collectors have come to look for in Walala’s paintings.


Tingari Cycle


Walala Tjapaltjarri


119 x 60cm.

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