Walala Tjapaltjarri


Walala Tjapaltjarri and his brothers Warlimpirrnga and Thomas have become well known in the contemporary Indigenous Australian art world as the Tjapaltjarri Brothers. Walala and his family grew up living the traditional nomadic way of life in the Gibson Desert in central Australia.

They had never previously had any contact with Western civilisation until they walked out of the desert in 1984, which made news headlines around the world. They became known as “The Last Nomads” or “The Lost Tribe”. Most other Pintupi families had been settled in remote outstations to the east and west of their traditional country during the 1950s.

Walala’s paintings depict “Tingari” – ancient Dreamtime ancestral spirits who travelled across the landscape performing ceremonies to create and shape the country associated with Dreaming sites, like rock holes and mountains.

Walala’s style is identified by a repeated pattern of geometric squares and dots, using either muted tones or bright colours. Walala, along with his brothers Thomas and Warlimpirringa, have exhibited their paintings in many galleries in Australia and overseas.