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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Walala Tjapaltjarri

2009
Greg Weight

inkjet print on cotton rag paper (sheet: 59.4 cm x 42.0 cm, image: 44.2 cm x 36.3 cm)

Walala Tjapaltjarri, artist, was born between the late 1960s and early 1970s near Wilkinkarra (Lake Mackay) in the Pilbara. He and his family made international headlines in 1984 when they left their nomadic desert life and joined family in the community of Kiwirrkura in Western Australia. At the time, various news outlets seized on the family's story, publishing a number of curious, sometimes invasive reports about the so-called 'Lost Tribe' and the 'Pintupi Nine'. Tjapaltjarri began painting at Kiwirrkura in 1997, encouraged by his older brother Warlimpirrnga, who is also an internationally recognised artist. Tjapaltjarri's early works focused on traditional Tingari designs that were traditionally used for ground and body painting. Over time he developed his own style as he abstracted Pintupi designs which focused on the topographic features and Dreaming stories of his Country. Tjapaltjarri's works have been shown in numerous group exhibitions in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, and in solo shows in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Switzerland. Tjapaltjarri currently lives and works in Alice Springs.

From 2006 to 2010, Greg Weight travelled extensively through central Australia meeting and photographing contemporary Pintupi and Warlpiri artists. This photograph of Tjapaltjarri is one of the portraits included in his resulting book Artists of the Western Desert (2011).

Gift of Patrick Corrigan AM 2020. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program.
© Gregory Weight/Copyright Agency, 2021

Artist and subject

Greg Weight (age 63 in 2009)

Walala Tjapaltjarri (age 44 in 2009)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

101 photographic portraits

Magazine article by Michelle Fracaro, 2004

Pat Corrigan's generous gift of 100 photographic portraits by Greg Weight.

Greg Weight

Portraits

Previous exhibition, 2006

Display of 36 Greg Weight photographs in Senate Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Old Parliament House.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency