Kaapa Tjampitjinpa and the Caltex Art Award
Kaapa Tjampitjinpa was painting independently and selling his work before Geoffrey Bardon arrived to teach art at Papunya. In September 1971, judge Jo Caddy awarded Kaapa equal first prize with Jan Wesley Smith in the Caltex Art Award in Alice Springs for his Men's Ceremony for the Kangaroo, Gulgardi. Kaapa's work, with its pictorial elements and seductive delicacy of detail, is cultivated to appeal to the western gaze. It also recreates the dramatic spectacle of men participating in ceremony and creates an illusion of the third dimension.
Upon the announcement of Kaapa's historic win in this mainstream art award, a flurry of activity swept though Papunya and within a month, a large group of senior men had begun painting in the 'traditional manner'. It is the works produced in the Men's Painting Room, inspired by Kaapa and facilitated by Bardon, that signal the genesis of a new painting movement.