Born, c.1925-2004, Wilkinkurra 

Wirrimanu (Balgo), WA


Kukatja, Warlpiri

Gulgunpa, near Lake Mackay 

Sam Tjampitjin

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Sam was a senior law man in the Balgo community and his paintings are mainly concerned with the secret and sacred sites of men’s ceremonial business. He spent most of his early life around Gulgunpa, near Lake Mackay, and in later life was a senior custodian for large tracts of land in this area.

When Sam was still a young man he walked into the original Balgo mission, Tjumundu, with his father. Sam recalls tending to the goats and shearing the sheep at the mission. He tells how they enjoyed the meat from the mission after the game of the desert.

Sam started painting with the arrival of the art coordinator Michael Rae at Warlayirti Artists, a time when many of the senior men of Balgo began to paint. Since this time Sam has been painting his country and the sacred law associated with it. He was one of the gracious old men at Balgo and a natural brother of one of Balgo’s greatest artist’s, Sunfly, who is now deceased.

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