The Honey Ant Mural, July 1971
Geoffrey Bardon and his Arerrnte assistant, Obed Raggett, had noticed people drawing designs in the sand at Papunya. Following this precedent, they drew circles and spirals on the blackboard in an unsuccessful attempt to encourage their class of adolescent boys to paint a series of murals on a whitewashed, cement-rendered wall of the Papunya Special School.
In late July 1971, after painting a series of smaller practice murals, seven painters collaborated in the painting of a monumental mural representing the Honey Ant Dreaming specific to the site of Papunya. Working under the direction of custodians Mick Wallangkarri Tjakamarra and Tom Onion Tjapangati, the artists included Kaapa Tjampitjinpa, Billy Stockman Tjapaltjarri, Long Jack Phillipus Tjakamarra, Johnny Warangkula Tjupurrula and Don Ellis Tjapanangka. The Honey Ant Mural, a bold expression of Aboriginal culture in a government settlement, occasioned great rejoicing at Papunya and inspired immense pride in the community.