Aboriginal Artist Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri

Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri

Born: c. 1932

Deceased: 2002

Language Group: Anmatyerre

Country: Western Desert, Central Australia

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas and Linen

Subjects: Men's Dreaming, Bushfire Dreaming

Clifford was born at Napperby Station, North West of Alice Springs to Tjatjiti Tjungurrayai and Long Rose Nangala. He lived a very traditional bush upbringing in his youth in the Jay Creek area and later became a stockman. He is from a family of artists, both his stepfather and brother having artwork displayed on Australian postage stamps. Another older brother, Cassidy, was also a painter and a respected elder in his community.

Clifford began his art career with wood carving and would carve snakes and goannas. When acrylic painting came to the Papunya area in the early 1970's, Clifford Possum emerged as one of the first artists to be involved in the Western Desert Art Movement.

Clifford passed away in June 2002 not long after being officially recognised for all his work and contribution to the Aboriginal Art and Culture in Australia. He was to be sworn in as an officer of the Order of Australia.


Artbank, Sydney

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

Hank Ebes Collection, Melbourne

The Holmes á Court Collection, Perth

The Kelton Foundation, Santa Monica USA

Mbantua Gallery Permanent Collection, Alice Springs

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Parliament House Art Collection, Canberra


2002 Medal of the Order of Australia


1988 Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri Paintings 1973-1986, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London
1989 Aboriginal Art: The Continuing Tradition, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
1989 Papunya Tula: Contemporary Paintings from Australia's Western Desert, John Weber Gallery, New York
1992 Crossroads - Towards a New Reality, Aboriginal Art from Australia, National Museums of Modern Art, Kyoto and Tokyo
1994 Power of the Land, Masterpieces of Aboriginal Art, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
1999 Good Vibrations - Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, Pierre Garoia & Bianca Beetson, FireWorks Gallery, Brisbane