Piltati, Nyapari, South Australia
|Died||16 April 2012 (aged about 92)|
Nyapaṟi, South Australia
|Years active||2004 – 2012|
|Style||Western Desert art|
|Children||Rini Tiger (daughter)|
Nola Angkatji Tiger (daughter)
Tiger was born around 1920 (though the exact year is not known). He was born in the bush, at a rockhole called Piltati, which is close to what is now Nyapaṟi in north-west South Australia. His family were Pitjantjatjara, and they lived a traditional, nomadic life in the bushland around Piltati. When he was a teenager, Tiger's family settled at Ernabella, which at the time was a Presbyterian mission and a sheep station. Tiger grew up on the mission, and learned to speak a little English in school there. He eventually got married to a woman named Nyalapanytja, and they lived in Ernabella for many years. Tiger worked on the station, shearing sheep and building fences.
In the 1970s, Tiger and his family moved to Amaṯa, closer to his homeland. When he got older, Tiger became a ngangkaṟi (traditional healer), an important and respected role in traditional Pitjantjatjara communities. In 1997, the women at Amaṯa began a community art centre, originally called Minymaku Arts. The word minymaku means "women's", and they called it this because, at the time, Pitjantjatjara men did not like to paint. After several men began painting in the early 2000s, the centre's name was changed to Tjala Arts.
Tiger started painting in September 2004, less than eight years before his death. He had never painted before this, and was better known for woodworking, especially making spears. Although he only began painting in his final years, his work quickly became recognised by critics. In 2005, Tiger was a finalist for the National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award. He became a finalist three more time before his death, in 2006, 2010, and 2011, but he never won. He was also a finalist in the Western Australian Indigenous Art Awards in 2009, and again in 2011. Tiger mainly painted for Tjala Arts, but from 2009 he also began working for Tjungu Palya in nearby Nyapaṟi.
Tiger's painted sacred stories from his Dreaming, mostly to do with Piltati, where he was born. This place is associated with a creation story involving two sisters and their husbands, who change themselves into Wanampi (a giant water snake). According to Tiger's Dreaming, the Wanampi are his family's ancestors who created the country around Piltati. The snake's form can be seen in many of Tiger's paintings, usually painted several different colours. His paintings were known for their bright colours, as opposed to the traditional natural ochre colours used by many other artists of the Western Desert.
Tiger died on 16 April 2012, over the age of 90. While he was alive, his paintings were exhibited in several major cities, including Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Fremantle and Perth. His work is now held in permanent galleries in most of these cities. He also had work exhitied overseas: at the University of Virginia in 2006, and in Singapore in 2008. His paintings are held in the National Gallery of Victoria, the National Gallery of Australia, the Australian National University, Charles Darwin University, Flinders University, and the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
- Rothwell, Nicolas (20 June 2011). "Serpentine course of a desert life". The Australian. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
- Ananguku Arts (ed.). Tjukurpa Pulkatjara: The Power of the Law. Wakefield Press. p. 54. ISBN 9781862548909.
- "Central Desert Region artist shortlisted in 2010 Telstra Art Award" (PDF). 27th Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award. Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. 21 July 2010.
- "List of Work". 22nd Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award. Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 November 2010. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
- "Room brochure" (PDF). 23rd Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award. Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 April 2011. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
- "Wanampi Tjukurpa". 28th Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award. Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. 2011. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
- "Artist Profiles - Finalists". Western Australian Indigenous Art Awards. Art Gallery of Western Australia. 2009. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
- "The 16 artists selected to exhibit". Western Australian Indigenous Art Awards. Art Gallery of Western Australia. 2011. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
- "Tjungu Palya, South Australia". Australian Art Collector (57): 220. July–September 2011.
- "Details of Tiger Palpatja". Short Street Gallery. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
- Creagh, Sunanda (7 April 2006). "Tiger, painting bright". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
- "Tiger Palpatja". National Gallery of Victoria. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
- Majendie, Adam (7 March 2008), Ruane, Jim, ed., "Decipher Creation Myths, Blow Glass at Singapore Art Galleries", Bloomberg News, Bloomberg L.P., retrieved 8 November 2012
- "Palpatja, Kunmanara". Collection Online. National Gallery of Australia. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
- "Margaret S Bain Collection". Flinders University, Art Museum & City Gallery. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
- "Works by Tiger Palpatja". Art Gallery of New South Wales. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
- Tiger Palpatja at Design & Art Australia Online