Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri

Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri - Mount Liebig Artist, Paints Ancestral Country from around the Olgas and Uluru


Rockholes near the Olgas by Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri

Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri  |  Rockholes near the Olgas

Jap 003771  |   acrylic on linen  |  180 x 135 cm


Rockholes and Country near Olgas by Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri

Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri   |  Rockholes and Country near Olgas

Jap 000080  |  acrylic on linen  |  240 x 153 cm


Pitjantjatjara artist Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri (1920- 2008) was born at Pirupa Akla, country located near the Olgas and west of Ayers Rock. By an early age, most of Bill Whiskey’s family had passed away, and many of his people had begun moving towards Haasts Bluff mission, about 250 kms away. Bill Whiskey joined a group who made that journey, but with some of the others, decided not to stay as they were frightened when they saw Europeans for the first time. Their fear came from the belief that these white-skinned people were Mamu, or bad spirit people, and so the group continued to travel on.

They eventually arrived near Areyonga where a white missionary Pastor called Patupirri had established a camp. It was here that Whiskey and the others first tasted European food. Whiskey tells how they would throw this strange food behind their backs as they didn’t like its taste. Whiskey spent some time here before moving back to the Lutheran mission at Haasts Bluff.

At the mission Bill Whiskey met his wife Colleen Nampitjinpa, and the couple and their family subsequently settled at an outstation at Amunturrungu (Mount Liebig), 100km north-west of Haasts Bluff and Whiskey never returned to his home country. While living at Haasts Bluff, Bill came to be called Whiskery, owing to his long bushy beard, and the name eventually evolved into Whiskey. Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri was a Ngangkari, or traditional healer in his community, and people came from afar to be treated by him.

Whiskey began painting around 2004 – the main images in his works are the Rockholes near Pirupa, to the west of Ayers Rock, and the story of his journeys to Areyonga and Haasts Bluff. Although he began painting only in the last four years of his life, Bill Whiskey’s paintings quickly become among the most sought after Aboriginal art works in Australia and overseas. Aboriginal art status – Highly collectable artist.

Selected Exhibitions 

2006  Colliding Worlds, Tandanya, Adelaide
2006  Australian Aboriginal Art 2006/2007, John Gordon Gallery, Sydney  NSW
2006  Knud Grothe Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark
2006  Aboriginal Art 2006, Scott Livesey Galleries, Melbourne VIC
2006  Luminaries of the Desert, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle, WA
2006  Watiyawanu, Bond Aboriginal Art, Adelaide SA
2007  Watiyawanu Artists of Amunturrngu, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
2007  The Stockman and the Medicine Man: Jack Dale and Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri, Japingka Gallery,  Fremantle WA
2007  Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri, John Gordon Gallery, Coffs Harbour NSW
2008  Watiyawanu Artists, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
2009  Watiyawanu Artists, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
2013  Landmarks and Law Grounds: Men of the Desert, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
2014  Dot Code: Desert Artists, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA