Page 1


masters of the western desert

Cover: Johnny Yungut Tjupurrula, Untitled (detail) 36 x 28 inches (91 x 46 cm) acrylic on Belgian linen, Catalog #JY1207046 This page: Ancestral country near Kintore, Northern Territory

PAPUNYA TULA ARTISTS - MASTERS OF THE WESTERN DESERT It was only four years ago in the spring of 2009 that Harvey Art Projects USA debuted its very first exhibition of contemporary Australian indigenous Art in the United States. Held at the iconic New York University, it was less than a year since the financial crisis hit the big apple leaving the art world reeling. Yet amidst a backdrop of uncertainty, this exhibition entitled ‘We Are Here Sharing Our Dreaming’ took New York by storm with a near sell-out of its 45 major works. This exhibit showcased the founders of the Western Desert Art Movement, Papunya Tula Artists, in what has since been heralded as a landmark international exhibit of Aboriginal Art. This holiday season Harvey Art Projects USA proudly presents its fourth exhibition of Papunya Tula Artists in America. Formed in 1972, Papunya Tula Artists occupies a unique place in the history of indigenous Australian Art. In the government settlement of Papunya, a remote township of some 1,400 dispossessed Aboriginal people, Melbourne school teacher Geoffrey Bardon encouraged a group of senior men to use acrylic paint to render their traditional designs, previously confined to ground and body painting, onto boards and later canvas. For the first time in history, indigenous Australians began to depict their ancient culture in ways that could be shown and sold to the world. The vivid images of ancestral Tjkurrpa (or Dreaming) produced by these pioneering Papunya Tula Artists sparked the genesis of the Papunya Tula movement whilst becoming a catalyst for the evolution of a thriving, Australia-wide indigenous art industry. This period is today internationally recognized as one of the most important events in Australian art history. Not only did the world witness the birth of an entirely new artistic movement, but a new era of political and social reform was ushered in. Through the act of painting and the public display of culture, indigenous Australians had created a platform for the right to self-determination. Within a decade, the Homelands movement saw the return of Aboriginal people to their traditional lands and the Native Title Act became a reality. Over the past forty years, Papunya Tula Artists has consistently brought world attention to Australian indigenous art through a number of high-profile and ground-breaking international exhibitions. In 2000 a major retrospective held at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Papunya Tula: Genesis and Genius, traced the history of the movement from 1972. More recently in 2009, Icons of the Desert: Early Painting from Papunya and We Are Here Sharing our Dreaming opened to critical acclaim in New York. In October 2011 through 2013 another major collaborative international exhibition Origin of Western Desert Art: Tjukurrtjanu opened in Melbourne and Paris. This joint exhibition between

Papunya Tula Artists, The Museum of Victoria, The National Gallery of Victoria and The Musee De Quai Branly consisting of over 200 early paintings produced at Papunya from 1971 to 1972, received unprecedented international attention. Papunya Tula Artists is entirely owned and directed by Aboriginal people from the Western Desert, predominantly of the Luritja/Pintupi language groups. Uniquely, this early model of indigenous ownership and leadership has greatly influenced other remote indigenous communities who have created similar ownerhsip structures. In the past decade the company has also created its own economic and social programs to directly support people living in the remote communities of Kintore in the Northern Territory and Kiwirrkurra in Western Australia. With these efforts, the company helps maintain a rich cultural heritage whilst providing essential ongoing care for the elderly and those suffering from severe health concerns. Some recent initiatives include the Kintore Swimming Pool and the Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantjaku Tjutaku Aboriginal Corporation (formerly the Western Desert Dialysis Appeal). The latter organization provides much needed mobile diabetes treatment for artists and their families. The paintings in this exhibition have made an enormous journey from the windblown studios of the remote Western Desert communities to the mountains of the Northwest United States. They represent the current stable of established and emerging artists, including George Tjungurrayi, Ronnie Tjampitjinpa and Johnny Yungut Tjupurrula who are still painting at their peak after nearly 30 years. The exhibition also showcases third generation artists, all of whom have been involved in the painting traditions of their husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, daughters and sons. This strong familial artistic lineage has spawned a precise style and consistency unparalleled in Aboriginal art. These works are made in and of country - immersed in ceremony, landscape, kinship, and ancestral knowledge they powerfully speak for themselves. Outstanding works by Papunya Tula Artists are held in all Australian public and state gallery collections, as well as many private collections in Australia and overseas. In 2013 works were exhibited in Singapore, France, Germany, North America, and The Netherlands. Harvey Art Projects USA gratefully acknowledges the generous support of Mr. Paul Sweeney, Manager of Papunya Tula Artists and the participating artists in mounting this USA exhibit in Sun Valley. Julie Harvey, Director

WARLIMPIRRNGA TJAPALTJARRI, Untitled, 54 x 48 inches (137 x 122cm) acrylic on Belgian linen, Catalog #WT1203065

JOSEPH JURRA TJAPALTJARRI, Untitled (detail) 48 x 36 inches (122 X 91cm) acrylic on Belgian linen, Catalog #JJ0706091

RAY JAMES TJANGALA, Untitled, 48 x 36 inches (91 x 122cm) acrylic on Belgian linen, Catalog #RJ1206075

DANNY GIBSON TJAPALTJARRI, Untitled, 42 x 36 inches (107 x 91cm) acrylic on Belgian linen, Catalog #DG0911119

KATJARRA BUTLER NAPALTJARRI, Untitled, 36 x 18 inches (91 x 46cm) acrylic on Belgian linen, Catalog #KB1307046

RONNIE TJAMPITJINPA, Untitled, 48 x 36 inches (122 x 91cm) acrylic on Belgian linen, Catalog #RT1311018

GEORGE TJUNGURRAYI, Untitled (3 panels) 34.25 x 11 inches (87 x 28cm) acrylic on Belgian linen, Catalog #GT1307037

WALANGKURA NAPANANGKA (UTA UTA’S WIDOW) 36 X 18 inches (91 X 46cm) acrylic on Belgian linen, Catalog #WN0902063

Katjarra Butler Napaltjarri Yulkultji Napangati Walangkura Napanangka (Uta Uta’s Widow) Josephine Nangala Ningura Napurrula Ray James Tjangala Danny Gibson Tjapaltjarri Hilary Tjapaltjarri Joseph Jurra Tjapaltjarri Ronnie Tjampitjinpa Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri Nyilyari Tjapangati George Tjungurrayi Johnny Yungut Tjupurrula

GEORGE TJUNGURRAYI, Untitled, 96 x 72 inches (244 x 183cm) acrylic on Belgian linen, 2009 Artists Catalog #GT0902014

on view 25 Dec - 10 Feb 2014 Sun Valley, USA 391 1st Avenue North Ketchum, ID 83340 USA (208) 309-8676 copyright 2014 Harvey Art Projects USA & Papunya Tula Artists back cover: Ningura Napurrula, Untitled, 60 x 48 inches, acrylic on Belgian linen

Profile for Harvey Art Projects USA

Papunya Tula USA 2014  

This holiday season Harvey Art Projects USA proudly presents its fourth exhibition of Papunya Tula Artists in America.

Papunya Tula USA 2014  

This holiday season Harvey Art Projects USA proudly presents its fourth exhibition of Papunya Tula Artists in America.