Thomas Tjapaltjarri was one of a group of nine that made national headlines in 1984. They were described as “the Last Nomads”
The group caused a sensation when they walked out of the desert and made contact with the “modern” world for the first time.
Leading a completely traditional existence before this time they were finally forced out of the desert to seek eligible wives for Thomas and his brothers Warlimpirrnga and Walala. Three years later Thomas commenced painting for Papunya Tula artists after encouragement from Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri.
Of the original group who emerged from the desert in 1984 the nomadic streak remains strongest perhaps in Thomas. Now an established and gifted artist Thomas paints in a style similar to that of his brothers.
The stories or “dreamings” of the Tingari Cycle are an important body of myth concerning the early journey paths of Tingari Ancestors throughout the “tjukurrpa” or Dreamtime. It is these stories which Thomas conveys through his skilful brushwork across the canvas.