Country: Kiwirrkurra, WA
Walala Tjapaltjarri, brother of well-known painters Warlimpirrnga and Thomas Tjapaltjarri, was was one of group, including his brothers, several sisters, and two aunts whose arrival in Kiwirrkura in 1984 made international headlines that proclaimed the discovery of a ‘Lost Tribe’. Until this time, at age 21, Walala had never encountered Europeans and their ways. The group had always lived a traditional lifestyle of hunters and gatherers in the country west of Lake Mackay.
In 1990 Walala lived in Kiwirrkura and watched his brother Warlimpirrnga begin to paint. He had taken to accompanying his brother on trips to Alice Springs from 1986 onward and it was on one of these trips that Walala himself was offered small boards, and was encouraged by his brother 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. Firmly grounded in his culture and intimately familiar with the sites he wanted to depict, Walala took to painting immediately. 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 including Marua, Minatarnpi and Mina Mina in the Gibson Desert of Western Australia.