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Walala Tjapaltjarri

Born: ca 1969

Area: Gibson Desert, Western Australia

Language Group: Pintupi

Until he was about 15 years old Walala had lived a completely traditional lifestyle. This nomadic existence ended in 1984 when Walala and his brothers were forced to find eligible wives in accordance with their complex system of marriage laws. This was only possible by leaving their traditional homelands and coming into town. Their arrival in Kiwirrkurra, west of Alice Springs made national headlines. The group of nine Pintupi Aboriginal men and women were dubbed the" Last Nomads". Three years later, encouraged by his older brother Warlimpirrnga (now also a well known artist) Walala began to paint in a minimalistic style similar to the engravings found on weapons, sand drawings and ritual body painting. Walala is perhaps most recognised now for his depictions of the Tingari Cycle, which is a series of sacred and secret mythological ceremonies describing the epic journey's of ancestors in the Dreamtime (Tjukurrpa).