Geoffrey Bardon AM (1940–2003)
Geoffrey Bardon began working as an art teacher at Papunya Special School in 1971. Concerned that the school's curriculum, appearance and ethos seemed out of step with Aboriginal culture, Bardon attempted unsuccessfully to involve his class in painting a series of murals on the school walls. Thereupon Kaapa Tjampitjinpa, Long Jack Phillipus Tjakamarra, Billy Stockman Tjapaltjarri and others created the Honey Ant Mural, which inspired many senior men to ask Bardon for painting materials and eventually begin painting in the Men's Painting Room.
Convinced of the groundbreaking importance of what he was witnessing, Bardon made comprehensive photographic, moving film and written records of the artists and the paintings that they produced while he was at Papunya. From his primary research, Bardon wrote three books and made three films that initiated public interest in Western Desert art. In 1988 Bardon was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for his unique contribution to the Western Desert art movement.