• Vale Kumantjayi Gibson Tjapaltjarri
Untitled Document


Vale Kumantjayi Gibson Tjapaltjarri

It is with great sadness that Papunya Tula Artists Pty Ltd announce the passing of shareholder Kumantjayi (Morris) Gibson Tjapaltjarri on Saturday 7th October.
Kumantjayi, eldest son of Yala Yala Gibbs Tjungurrayi and Ningura Napurrula, will always remain a much loved member of the Papunya Tula family. A loveable rogue, Hawthorn Football Club fanatic, dedicated family man and brilliant artist. Kumantjayi lit up our lives like no other.
His indomitable spirit defied modern medicine. When doctors repeatedly delivered their sobering diagnosis he simply shrugged off their comments, turned the key on his motorised scooter, and sped off. The man was busy and had much to do. This is how he lived his life, to the absolute fullest, and right up to the last minute. No road was too rough, no sand too deep and no tyre too flat, he remained mobile when most would’ve simply given up.
His painting career spanned over twenty-five years and culminated at its finest moment just weeks ago here in Alice Springs, in his own gallery at Papunya Tula Artists. A solo exhibition of paintings centred around his most celebrated sites, Untari and Lake MacDonald.
To no ones surprise the show stunned all that were fortunate enough to see it. Many were left speechless and the exhibition sold out. His most recent body of work came from an entirely different perspective, simultaneously both figurative and abstract. Channeled from the spiritual world occupied by the Untari Lizard Man, through Tjapaltjarri, to us the viewer. They were profound images that none of us will ever forget.
We will miss his presence, his keen sense of humor and his eternal optimism. His passion for life was boundless but eventually he simply had to give in. As the first of this years summer storms rolled through the Western Desert, Kumantjayi chose to leave. Lightning, thunder and drought breaking rains signaled the end of his physical life. Thankfully his spirit hadn’t far to travel, he was at home in Kintore, comfortable, peaceful and surrounded by his family.
Papunya Tula Artists would like to sincerely thank everyone at the Purple House who took such great care of him over the last ten years.