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Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri facts for kids

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Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri
Born late 1950s
hillside east of modern-day Kiwirrkurra, Western Australia
Nationality Australian
Occupation Painter
Years active 1987 – present
Organization Papunya Tula
Style Western Desert art
Spouse(s) Yalti Napangati
Children 4
Parent(s) Waku Tjungurrayi (father)
Papalya Nangala (mother)
Relatives Topsy Napaltjarri
Takariya Napaltjarri
Piyiti Tjapaltjarri
Thomas Tjapangati
Yukultji Napangati
Walala Tjapangati

Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri (piu [waɭɪmb̥ɪrɪ ɖ̥ɟəb̥əɭɖ̥ɟaːrɪ]; born late 1950s) is an Australian Aboriginal artist. He is one of Australia's most well-known indigenous artists.

Early life

See also: Pintupi Nine

Warlimpirrnga was born in the late 1950s. He was born near Lake Mackay, east of where Kiwirrkurra is today. He and his family lived a traditional nomadic way of life on the western side of Lake Mackay. They had never come into contact with European society. Warlimpirrnga's father died when he was a young boy. His mother remarried shortly after. Warlimpirrnga himself married his cousin, Yalti, sometime around 1980. He was a hunter, the family's main provider of food. He hunted with spears, mirru (spear-throwers) and boomerangs.

In 1984, when he was about 25, he finally came into contact people from outside his family. When he saw a white man for the first time, Warlimpirrnga remembers, "I couldn't believe it. I thought he was a devil, a bad spirit. He was the colour of clouds at sunrise." He and his family were settled at Kiwirrkurra. News of this group living nomadically so far into the modern world made headlines internationally.


Warlimpirrnga started painting in 1987. He did paintings for Papunya Tula. He was taught by the other artists at the company. He finished his first painting for them in April 1987. His first public exhibition was in Melbourne, in 1988. It showed eleven of his paintings. The entire collection was bought for the National Gallery of Victoria. He has since become one of central Australia's most well-known artists.

Warlimpirrnga paints abstract images of sacred dreaming stories and songs. The stories focus around the Tingari, the ancestors of the Pintupi, spirit beings who are believed to have created all living things. His stories are about his country and sacred sites like Marruwa and Kanapilya.

His work is held in public collections across Australia, such as in the National Gallery in Canberra, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and the National Gallery of Victoria. He also has work in galleries overseas, such as the Quai Branly Museum in Paris. In 2012, his work was shown as part of the documenta exhibition in Kassel, Germany. As of 2008, the most one of his paintings has sold for is AU$85,000.

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