Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri
Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri was born in Tjuirri, an area north of west Alice Springs, also known as Napperby Station. Growing up, Clifford enjoyed a tradition bush lifestyle and was given the name Possum by his parental grandfather.
Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri is arguably the most widely acclaimed, collected and exhibited Aboriginal artist of his time. He was said to be a true master artist, his character, charisma and total dedication to his art and Dreamings, as well as his tireless promotion of his, and his families work, has set a high standard in establishing this movement from its inception to present day.
Clifford was amongst the first to paint at Papunya with Geoffrey Bardon in 1971, and shares the roll-call of fame with Yirrwala and Emily Kame Kngwarreye.He first worked as a stockman on many of the cattle stations in Central Australia. It was while working as a stockman that he began his career as an artist, establishing a reputation as one of the finest wood carvers in the area. His first opportunity to paint came when one of Albert Namatjira's sons introduced him to acrylic paints. Clifford’s works depicted the traditional, 'Dreaming' stories of the Western Desert people.
A fully initiated Anmatyerre man, Clifford Tjapaltjarri is custodian of many stories and is accorded great respect as a Tribal Elder.
Sadly, Clifford Possum passed away in 2002, soon after being recognised for his contribution to Australian art by being made an Officer of the Order of Australia.