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.


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    Tim Leura Tjapaltjarri
    Anmatyerr c.1929–1984
    Butterfly Dreaming 1972
    synthetic polymer paint on composition board
    45.3 x 61.7 cm
    Private collection
    © artists and their estates 2011, licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency Limited and Papunya Tula Artists
  • EXHI015401

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    Ronnie Tjampitjinpa
    Pintupi born c.1943
    Water Dreaming at Malparingya 2006
    synthetic polymer paint on canvas
    152.2 x 182.5 cm
    Felton Bequest, 2011
    © artists and their estates 2011, licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency Limited and Papunya Tula Artists



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  • EXHI015734
    Pintupi active (1950s)
    Spear thrower (1950s)
    Mulga (Acacia sp.), earth pigments, spinifex resin, sinew, wood
    76.0 x 9.0 x 5.0 cm
    The Donald Thomson Collection, University of Melbourne
    On loan to Museum Victoria, Melbourne (DT4562)
    © Museum Victoria 2011 / Photographer Benjamin Healley
  • EXHI015742
    Warumungu active (early 1900s)
    Group of decorated knives early 1900s
    quartzite (flaked), glass, wood, spinifex resin, earth pigments, bark, bush string
    Museum Victoria, Melbourne
    Purchased from James Field, 1907 (X13764) (X13697) (X13570) Purchased from G. F. Hill, 1928 (X36746)
    © Museum Victoria 2011 / Photographer Benjamin Healley
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