Born in the bush at Palinpalintjanya, north-west of Jupiter Well, Charlie Tjapangati was a young man already initiated when Jeremy Long brought his family into Papunya with one of the last of the Welfare Branch patrols in about 1964. At this time men were encouraged to provide farm and construction labour, often at little or no pay to build the settlements.
After a few years working soley for provision of rations Charlie Tjapangati began painting for Papunya Tula Artists in about 1978. He quickly became a skillful artist and was selected to produce work for a touring exhibition. He accompanied Billy Stockman and Andrew Crocker to America for an exhibition of the paintings in the ‘Mr Sandman Bring Me a Dream’ collection, which was the initial purchase of Western Desert art by the Holmes a Court collection.
Stories from the Tingari cycle are the usual subject of his paintings. These show the paths taken by the tingari ancestors in the period of creation and the important areas to find food and water. Aboriginal culture relied heavily on story telling to teach the means of survival in the harsh Australian climate. Stories that demonstrate how to find water and food often also feature ancestors and sprit figures who give encouragement or punishment when the rules are not followed.
South Australian Museum, Adelaide
Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney
Richard Kelton, USA
Holmes a Court, Perth