The Papunya Tula Art Movement began in 1971 when a school teacher, Geoffrey Bardon, encouraged some of the men to paint a mural on the local school. The murals sparked off tremendous interest in the community of Papunya in the Northern Territory and soon many men started painting. The following year, 1972, the artists successfully established their own company which is entirely owned and directed by Aboriginal people from the Western Desert, with women artists carving out their own space in subsequent decades.
This exhibition features pieces from various artists across the 5 decade history of the Papunya Tula Arts Movement, celebrating 50 Years of the art movement that changed the way the world saw Indigneous Australian Art.
The Papunya Tula painting style derives directly from the artists’ knowledge of traditional body and sand painting associated with ceremony. The portrayal of these dreamtime creation stories for the public has required the removal of sacred symbols and the careful monitoring of ancestral designs.
“Before the early 1970s, Aboriginal artists had never painted their stories with acrylic on canvas using a traditional lexicon of signs and symbols. That groundbreaking innovation, engineered by Geoff Bardon, translated one of the world’s oldest living artforms into an utterly contemporary movement.” – John McDonald
Download the exhibition catalogue to learn more about each of the artworks featured in our exhibition.