DOB: Early 1960’s
Country: WIlkinkarra (including the sites of Marawa, Tarkurrnga, Njami, Ungarta
and Yarrawangu) around Lake Mackay, Gibson Desert, Western Australia
Walala and his extended family of nine, including Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri and Tamayinya (Thomas) Tjapaltjarri, lived a nomadic and traditional hunter-gathering life in the great Gibson Desert and , with their understanding of the land and waterholes, survived as their ancestors had for centuries.
In October 1984 the group made international news with their first contact with Europeans when they walked into the newly settled community of Kiwirrikurra. Walala’s first contact experiences were the focus of one episode of Robert Hughes’ Beyond the Fatal Shore documentary for the BBC and ABC.
Walala followed Warlimpirrnga in painting with Papunya Tula in 1987 which was in the classical Tingari style favoured by Pintupi artists. He then developed his own individualistic, strong, minimal style in painting the Tingari Cycle (the Ancestors travels during the Tjukurrpa (creation time) of his country, performing ceremonies to create the diversity of the land (for example; water holes, sand dunes, mountains, plants and animals). And thus, sacred sites. These stories and ceremonies are still recognised in the ‘songlines’ and teachings today.
Walala has painted as an independent artist for many years and has been involved with Tingari Arts since 2001. He, Warlimpirrnga and Thomas are very close and often like to paint together. Apart from being one of Australia’s prominent artists Walala is a kind, generous man with a great sense of humour. Tingari Arts is honoured to be associated with him.
Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney
Flinders University, Adelaide
The Kelton Foundation, USA
Kaplan & Levi Collection, USA