Tjukurrtjanu TjukurrtjanuTjukurrtjanu: Origins of Western Desert Art

NGV NGVNGV: 150 years Museum VictoriaMuseum Victoria Papanya Tula ArtistsPapanya Tula Artists

  • An NGV Touring Exhibition
  • 30 September 2011 – 12 February 2012
  • The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia,
  • Federation Square, Melbourne
  •  
  • 9 October 2012 – 20 January 2013
  • Musée du quai Branly, Paris

Tjukurrtjanu: Origins of Western Desert Art examines a watershed moment in the history of art when a painting practice emerged at Papunya in Central Australia. Tjukurrtjanu gives prominence to 200 of the first paintings produced at Papunya between 1971 and 1972 and also establishes the vital connection between the works of art and their sources in ephemeral designs made for use in ceremony.

A collaboration between the NGV and Museum Victoria.
In partnership with Papunya Tula Artists Pty Ltd.

This website contains the names, images and works of Indigenous people who have passed away, which may cause distress to some Indigenous people.

Indigenous people from Central Australia and the Western Desert are advised that this exhibition contains culturally sensitive works that may be considered harmful or inappropriate for viewing by women or uninitiated members of their communities. Care has been taken to respect cultural protocols and, following a comprehensive consultation process, these works will be exhibited separately for the duration of the exhibition and will not be illustrated in the exhibition catalogue or displayed on this website.

Please note that some records contain terms and annotations that reflect the period in which the item was recorded, and may be considered inappropriate today in some circumstances.


Papunya Tula Artists Company

In September 1971 the Papunya School Painters Co-operative was set up with three directors: Fred Friis (Principal), Geoffrey Lawson (Deputy Principal) and Geoffrey Bardon, with Obed Raggett acting as translator and negotiator. The co-operative was absorbed into the Papunya Council in 1972.

In June 1972 the name Papunya Tula was born and became a living idea at a gathering at Charley Creek in Alice Springs. Bardon, who was with Charlie Wartuma Tjungurrayi, Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri and Tim Leura Tjapaltjarri, recalled asking the painters what they wanted to call the company. Wartuma blurted out, as if he'd known all his life, "Papunya Tula". His suggestion was strongly supported by Tim Leura and Namarari because Papunya Tula 'refers specifically to the smaller of two hills not far from Papunya, a Honey Ant Dreaming site shared equally by all traditional groups in Central Australia and the Western Desert'. (Geoffrey Bardon)

On 16 November 1972, Papunya Tula Artists was incorporated as a company of limited liability with eleven original shareholders. Kaapa Tjampitjinpa was appointed as its first chairman.

Related images

Ad100413
Charlie Wartuma Tjungurrayi
Pintupi c.1921–99
Old Man’s Dreaming at Mitukatjirri 1972
gouache on composition board
32.7 x 65.1 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Gift of Mrs Douglas Carnegie OAM, 1988
(O.31-1988)
© artists and their estates 2011, licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency Limited and Papunya Tula Artists
EXHI015391
Tim Leura Tjapaltjarri
Anmatyerr c.1929-1984
Travelling Honey Ant Dreaming - (Version 7) 1972
synthetic polymer paint on composition board
45.5 x 30.5 cm
Private collection, Melbourne
© artists and their estates 2011, licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency Limited and Papunya Tula Artists Pty Ltd
EXHI015387
Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri
Pintupi c.1926-98
Family bush tucker Dreaming c.1972
synthetic polymer paint on composition board
50.0 x 50.9 cm
Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection, Virginia, USA
© artists and their estates 2011, licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency Limited and Papunya Tula Artists Pty Ltd
Ad100992
Tim Leura Tjapaltjarri
Anmatyerr c.1929–1984
Yam Spirit Dreaming 1972
synthetic polymer paint on composition board
70.0 x 54.0 cm
Private collection
© artists and their estates 2011, licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency Limited and Papunya Tula Artists
EXHI015400

Namarari depicts the Bandicoot Dreaming at the site of Marakutju, a hill north of the Walungurru community. Here the ancestral bandicoot made a shelter by scraping at the ground, pulling all the spinifex grass into a nest with his claws and forming a type of roof with the grass. He then stretched out on his back with his limbs splayed. The work is emblematic of place and also embodies the movements of the bandicoot in constructing the shelter. It is identical in scale and subject to the artist’s major prize-winning entry in the 1991 National Aboriginal Art Award. The work reveals Namarari’s use of increasingly reduced visual motifs, which enable him to reach a conceptual distillation of elements that intersect when he thinks of particular places in his country.

Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri
Pintupi c.1926-98
Bandicoot Dreaming in the Marakutju area 1994
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
182.0 x 153.0 cm
Gabrielle Pizzi Collection, Melbourne
© artists and their estates 2011, licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency Limited and Papunya Tula Artists Pty Ltd

Connections


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