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Cassidy Tjapaltjarri



Cassidy Possum (Stockman) Tjapaltjarri (born aprox:1923 – 25 February 2006) was an Australian Aboriginal spokesman, tribal elder and well known visual artist.

He was born at Napperby in the Northern Territory around 1923. It is unclear exactly when he started painting, however, he was a regular painter during his many years as a pensioner at Mount Allan. He was one of the most flamboyant figures in this small community and was an elder of the Anmatyerre tribe. His traditional country covered a large tract of land (several thousand square miles) and included many important dreaming sites. His artwork and art themes were taken from his country and included caterpillar, men's love story, possum and men's dreamings.

Cassidy's full brother was Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, one of the most famous of all "first generation" contemporary Indigenous Australian artists. Clifford died in mid-2002.

Since Clifford died Cassidy painted what he called "circle" dreaming which was part of powerful dreaming story that was used in the sand paintings to bring Clifford home. These paintings were interspersed with the Possum Dreaming which he inherited from Clifford. These two dreamings were dramatically different in their construction, composition and colours to all of his earlier paintings. Cassidy was one of the first generation artists who painted important and powerful dreamings that preserved his culture.


I had the honor of spending a great deal of time over many years visiting Cassidy and staying with him, he was a traditionalist who barely drifted outside of the Yuelamu community and was one of most respected elder till his passing in 2006. 

Everyone who had the privilege of meeting Cassidy was hypnotized by his spell ( At a cost of some small gifts (a bottle of Ginger Ale and a few grocery items) he lures you with a innocent smile and his warm charm with enthusiasm to share his knowledge about the historical aboriginal culture and this surrounding mythological area, which you would be given a tour of) no matter how long or how short you stay, before you depart the community of Yuelamu you are 100% sure to leave with one of Cassidy's paintings. 


2008 July redrock gallery,Beijing, 2nd Gallery Opening, Group Exhibition,  Beijing, P.R China

2008 November redrock gallery, Beijing: A Women’s Exhibition  Beijing, P.R China