Shorty Lungkata Tjungurrayi<br/>
<em>Waterhole in a cave</em> 1972 (detail)<br />

synthetic polymer paint on composition board<br />
61.5 x 45.4 cm<br />
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne<br />
Purchased through The Art Foundation of Victoria with the assistance of ICI Australia Ltd, Fellow, 1988<br />
O.11-1988<br />
© The Artist/Licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency Limited

The creation of Papunya Tula Artists is commonly regarded as the origin of the Western Desert art movement, which inspired other Indigenous Australian communities to document their cultural heritage onto permanent artworks for a Western art market. The catalyst for the movement occurred in 1971 when local school teacher Geoffrey Bardon initiated a project to paint murals on one of the blank walls at the school. The project received a lot of interest from the men in the community and following this the Papunya community began to paint on any available materials, including hardboards and floor tiles.

The following year the community started to display their work around Australia and chose the name Papunya Tula for their art company, which is the name of two small hills not far from Papunya and means a ‘meeting place for all brothers and cousins’ – it is a shared Honey Ant dreaming site for groups in the Western Desert region. This inclusivity in their name is particularly important as Papunya was not the traditional country for the peoples who lived there; it was established in 1960 when the government forced Aranda, Anmatyeree, Luritja, Warlpiri and Pintupi peoples off their land and to Papunya. The Papunya Tula Artists and Papunya Tjupi Arts continue to produce work with an international reputation and a strong cultural connection to Country.