It is with great sadness and regret that Japingka Gallery in association with The Watiyawanu Artists of Amunturrngu announce the passing of one of the great Indigenous Artists of our time. Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri was initially renowned and respected as a Traditional Medicine Man (Ngangkari,) and Healer in his adopted Community near Mount Liebig in the Central Desert. People would come from many kilometres away to seek his healing. In just the last four years of his life, Bill became even better known as a celebrated Artist. In this short period, Bill achieved enormous recognition and success.
Bill was selected by the Australian Art Collector Magazine as one of The Top 50 Most Collectable Artists. He has been a finalist in the last two Telstra Awards and in May of this year was feted in London with a Major Exhibition that sold out completely on the opening night. Collectors and Art Critics alike have celebrated and hailed the work of this incredibly talented and unique Artist.
Bill’s passing is a great loss to the Art World and we believe that he will become to be seen justifiably as one of the all time greats. Bill’s passing not only leaves a large gap in the lives of all in his Community, but it also highlights the sad, irreplaceable loss of so much Traditional Knowledge and experience. It is with the inevitable passing of the older Men and Women who were born in the desert and fully initiated that signals the end of an era, both in the Indigenous Communities and also in the Indigenous Fine Art World.
Japingka Gallery wishes to acknowledge the amazing contribution to Australian Art in such an amazing short but stellar career, and to also pass on our sincere condolences to his wife, children, extended family and his Community at Watiyawanu. This is a great loss to all that knew the man and his work.