22 Jan Walala Tjapaltjarri
Walala was born c. 1960 at Marua, east of Kiwirrkura in the Gibson Desert.
He is of the Pintupi Tribe of the Central/Western Desert. Walala is part of the famous “Lost Tribe” of 1984, when he and eight of his Pintupi people walked out of the bush to encounter the white man for the first time. This incredible event made headlines around the world. Prior to this time, the tribe had lived a traditional life of hunter/food-gatherers.
Walala and his brothers, in particular Warlimpirrnga and Thomas, have achieved International acclaim as artists, painting the Tingari Cycle, the Dreaming of his ancestors. These Dreamtime Ancestors are said to have travelled through their land creating certain sites and teaching the law. Walala paints images of these travels – the rockholes, sandhills, landform, water soakages and ceremonial sites including Wilkinkarra, Maruwa, Tarrku, Njami and Yarrawangu, in the Gibson Desert.
Walala has a highly personalised style, bold and strongly graphic. His use of colour is clever and his depictions of the Tingari cycle classically abstract in form.
Walala first started exhibiting his work in 1997 (in the 14th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Darwin) and he has been involved with a number of group exhibitions since, as well as having several solo shows. His paintings are represented in private and public collections in Australia, Europe and the USA.