Adolf Inkamala portrayed his country sensitively with big straight white-trunked trees like steadfast totems. His compositions seemed to glow, often with the sense of timeless fantasies. Adolf was proud of being an artist and this pride is reflected in his engagement with each painting. Many of his paintings were created ‘out west’ of Hermannsburg at or near his Haasts Bluff Reserve cattle lease. He was astute and, exceptionally, ran a successful cattle lease on the Haasts Bluff Reserve. Adolf had a dual career as both an artist and pastoralist, living both out west and at Hermannsburg. Adolf was a founder of the Hermannsburg School.
Adolf created his paintings carefully. He demonstrated considerable cultural pride in his work. He did not appear to produce for quick low-priced sales. Adolf was one of three brothers who were artists. Adolf was the most refined and detailed of the Inkamala family, in a most sensitive way.
The brothers, Adolf Inkamala (27.12.1914 to 15.6.1960), Gerhard Inkamala (2.6.1917 to 10.6.1977) and Clifford Inkamala 26.9.1927 to 25.5. 1982) were each born at Hermannsburg. They were Western Arrernte, Subsection (Skin) Mpetyane. They were the sons of Reinhold and Clara Inkamala (Albert Namatjira’s half-sister). Clara’s father was a German man named Pfitzner who was a skilled horse breaker.  From Reinhold and Clara Inkamala descend the large Inkamala family group. Clara’s mother Emilie (mother of Albert) was a daughter of the important Western Arrernte Palm Valley ancestor Renkeraka. Adolf was thus three quarters Aboriginal. Adolf married Lorraine, a Loritja woman, and as at 1957 they had three children. Adolf lived with his family at Hermannsburg and Areyonga all his life. He died at Hermannsburg.
When Adolf died, aged 45, he left an estate worth £5000, a substantial sum in 1960. Adolf earned his money as both an artist and through his own herd of cattle at Areyonga welfare settlement in Central Australia. According to Dawn magazine, he was the only Aborigine successful in an experiment conducted there. His estate was believed to be the “biggest ever left by a full blood Aborigine”.  Apparently he was well remembered in Alice Springs where he used to drive around in a car with the words “Adolf Inkamala, artist Areyonga” painted on a door. According to Dawn, Adolf was considered one of the best of the Aranda artists and had the reputation of being an astute man.
He owned about 250 beasts at Tent Hill on the Haasts Bluff Reserve, which was in the area of influence of the Finke River Mission. (Hermannsburg Nominal Roll, Part 2 Correspondence). Adolf appeared to benefit from Pastor Albrecht’s Mission administered pastoralists scheme taking root 1943-44. He was thus able to diversify away from relying only on painting. The scheme was aimed at keeping Haasts Bluff area land for Aboriginal people and free from becoming a Government granted large cattle lease. 
Having become a pastoralist, Adolf appears to have started to paint seriously by 1947, around the same time as his brother Gerhard. He was included in a joint exhibition in 1951 at Tmara Mara Gallery at Rex and Bernice Batterbee’s home in Alice Springs. Sadly, he died at only 45 years of age.
This first known painting by Adolf is quite accomplished, indicating some experience with composition and use of colour. It is in the Araluen Museum at Alice Springs: Ubana Valley, est 1947-49. (watercolour on paper; 26.5 x 28.5 cm (irreg); Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory NAM-0151). The viewpoint is on the floor of the valley, looking upward to two dramatic rounded red topped cliff structures behind which are the rounded shapes of the Ubana range. The artist was interested to describe the character of the range joyously.