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Sam George Tjapanangka, was born West of Kintore in Pintupi country in the bush in 1950. Sams father, Ratji, had two wives. His mother was Mitchikala. His fathers second wife was Katarra Nampitjinpa, an important Pintupi artist who painted originally with the Papunya Tula Artists and then later with Ikuntji Artists at Haasts Bluff. Sam and his sisters share the same father, though have different mothers. One of his sisters, Kutungka Napanangka became a successful painter in her time, painting for Ikuntji Artists and exhibiting in Australia and overseas. Their other sister, Permungka, had been painting for years before Sam and Kutungka began. It was her, along with other family members, who first taught them how to paint.
Their family moved to Haasts Bluff when Sam was young, during the mission days when ration stations that had been set up in the area. Sam grew up alongside family and fellow painters Eunice Napanangka Jack and Anmanari Nolan. Together they attended the mission school at Haasts Bluff.
When he was a young man he worked at Papunya as a butcher, suppling meat to the local Community. Sam also worked at Areyonga learning the plumbling trade in his younger years. Having grown up in Haasts Bluff, Sam first began painting at Ikuntji Artists in the early 1990s when it first opened. He then painted at Kintore for some time.
The place where Sam was born, and the country of his mother and father is known as Emu country. It is from this Pintupi country that he paints the Kalaya Tjukurrpa (Emu Dreaming). This Tjukurrpa was passed down to him from his parents who taught him how to draw it in the sand. Sam has been painting for many years and his work depicts the travels and ceremonies of his people. Due to the sensitive nature of these stories the details cannot be divulged to the uninitiated.
- Tarnanthi Festival Art Fair, Tandanya Institute. Adelaide 2015-10-09
- Korowa College Melbourne vic 2011-01-01
- Desert Mob, Alice Springs NT 2011-01-01
- Beckworth Gallery, Ballarat, VIC, "Ikuntji Artists" 2009-01-01
- Indigenart, Perth, "Ngankirritja" 2007-01-01
- Red Dot Gallery, Singapore, "North Meets South: Ikuntji and Tjala Arts Converge" 2007-01-01