Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri, (1920’s – 2008), was born at Pirupa Akla, country located near the Olgas and to the west of Ayers Rock. By the time he was a young man, most of Bill Whiskey’s family had passed away. Many of his people had begun moving towards Haasts Bluff mission, about 250 kms to the north east. Whiskey joined a group of Aboriginal people who were about to make that journey. No one had yet seen white people, and when they arrived at the mission, the desert people were completely naked.
Bill Whiskey, along with some of the others, decided not stay, as they were frightened when they saw white people for the first time. They eventually arrived at an area near Areyonga, where a white missionary Pastor had established a camp. It was here that Whiskey and the others first tasted white man food. Whiskey spent a little time with Patupirri before moving back to Haasts Bluff mission, where he met his wife, and so never returned to his home country.
Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri practiced as a traditional healer, and people would come from afar to be treated by him. He came to be called Whiskers, owing to his long white beard, and the name eventually evolved into Whiskey. Later in life Whiskey moved to an outstation at Amunturrungu, where he lived with his wife and children. Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri began painting in 2004. The main images in his works are the Rockholes near Pirupa, Ayers Rock, and the story of his own journeys to Areyonga and Haasts Bluff.
A selection of paintings by Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri is available from Japingka Gallery, where collectors can buy Aboriginal art online with certainty of quality, authenticity and provenance of art works.
Japingka Gallery has exhibited the work of Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri over many years and the artist’s work has been included in a number of exhibitions including-
2013 Landmarks and Law Grounds – Men of the Desert
2011 In Black and White
2009 Watiyawanu Artists
2008 Watiyawanu Artists
2007 The Stockman and the Medicine Man: Jack Dale & Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri
2007 Watiyawanu Artists of Amunturrngu
2006 Luminaries of the Desert