New start in Papunya

Aboriginal Art Directory | 05.09.07

The Australian
New start in Papunya
Simon Kearney
September 04, 2007

Article in the Australian about Papunya Tjupi.

Quoted from the article:

The work of these two men and many of the children and grandchildren of the original Papunya artists will be shown at an exhibition opening tomorrow night at the Ivan Dougherty Gallery in Sydney. Long Jack Phillipus is the only original Papunya painter in the show. The rest are the descendants of other original painters, such as Johnny Warrangkula Tjupurrula and Billy Stockman Tjapaltjarri.

Called Papunya Tjupi: A New Beginning (Tjupi means honey ant), the exhibition has been organised to launch a new arts centre established at Papunya by Vivien Johnson, professor of fine arts at the University of NSW and an expert in Aboriginal art.

"There hasn't really been a place where people could work together making art since the '70s," says Johnson, who describes the exhibition as strong and surprising.

Johnson has been visiting Papunya since 1980 and has leased a house in the town, which will be used as a base to start up the new arts centre, using NT and federal government funding. Later, she says, she hopes to organise a purpose-built home for the centre.

In Bardon's time the arts centre was a painting room at the back of the town hall, a corrugated-iron army cupola shed. While arts centres have sprung up in almost every central Australian town, however, Papunya - the name almost synonymous with the Western Desert movement of Aboriginal painting - has remained without one.

There was a gallery: Warumpi Arts, in Alice Springs, from 1993 to 2004. The community's collection of seminal 1971-72 board paintings, the remnants of a collection Bardon put together for Papunya's school, are on loan to the Araluen Gallery in Alice Springs. Local NT parliamentarian Alison Anderson, who grew up at Papunya in the '70s, wants to see the collection returned to her home town if a museum can be built to accompany the arts centre.

In the centre of Todd Mall in Alice Springs, the name Papunya Tula, referring to the two hills adjacent to the Papunya township, hangs from one of the central Australian city's most respected galleries. Papunya Tula is a co-operative company that sells works by Pintubi painters. Established 35 years ago, it was the first Aboriginal art co-operative. Most of the artists it represents left in the mid-'70s, though, and are based in Kintore and Kiwikurra, to the west.


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Contact Details

Gallery: Papunya Tjupi
Contact: Michael Nelson
Telephone: +61 8 8956 8522



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