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Papunya Tula Artists

Indigenous Paintings from Australia’s Western Desert


Papunya Tula Artists

Indigenous Paintings from Australia’s Western Desert


Ningura Napurrula

Makinti Napanangka

George Tjungurrayi

Walangkura Napanangka (Uta Uta Tjangala’s widow)

Yinarupa Nangala Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri Yukultji Napangati Ronnie Tjampitjinpa Bobby West Tjupurrula Walangkura Napanangka

Nyilyari Tjapangati Patrick Tjungurrayi Johnny Yungut Tjupurrula Ray James Tjangala Matthew West Tjupurrula


It’s a Big Story – My First Times with Papunya Painters It’s been more than 40 years since I saw my first Papunya Tula painting and met artists from the cooperative. Then, it seems that my first recording of seeing a painting was in August of 1973, sitting with Charley Tarawa Tjungurrayi and Uta Uta Tjangala. Charley could speak some English; Uta Uta almost none. I was just at the beginning of my PhD anthropological fieldwork, eager to learn anything I could. What a day.

Notebook 1 : 107 August 8, 1973 Charley Tjaruru tjungurrayi: - turlku – painting;

turlku - corroboree, story

- Wuta Wuta's new one; Yumari, big story - Charley's - emu Dreaming; his uncle dreaming. He's his son (katja) - Can paint (1) own, (2) mamakungurra (father's country), (3) tjamukungurra (grandfather's country) - Wuta Wuta's mamakungurra. Gr Fa never got any money for his stories, "he lose em." - Can't read and write but can get long way idea. Afraid white people will steal country; stories... Therefore, big money - Ngurra walytja - our country; lampatju - for everybody

loss is obviously – at least – unfortunate, not what should have been. In this case, there was a point – as the next line I recorded shows: “I can’t read and write but I can get long way idea,” says Charley. He can think deeply, see what others might not. He is afraid that white people will steal their country, steal their stories. Because of that, they should get big money. It is “our country, for all of us.” The Pintupi is clear – the first person plural pronomial suffix “lampatju” means belonging to the speaker and those who he includes as “we” but not the listener. Not me, then. It is, he says, “our country, our ceremony.” And, in case I didn’t follow the logic, and I certainly wasn’t interrupting, he went on to explain. In olden times, if somebody steals a story, he would be speared, finish (dead). “Not to take them from country.” And he reiterated the point, in Pintupi: “Wakalpayi turlkunguru (we speared people because of ceremonies). It is our property; we sell ‘em.” Here Charley asserted an equivalence of paintings with country and ceremony – all performances and emanations of the ancestral realm anthropologists and Aboriginal people have often called The Dreaming. He insists that these are essentially their property, that they don’t want them “stolen” – and in the past that would have brought about retribution. But, he suggests they can be exchanged, in some way, for money.

ngurra waltyjalampatju turlkulampatju -- our corroboree story - Old times, if somebody takes (steals) a story, he would be speared; finish. Not to take them from country. -wakalpayi turlkunguru - "Our property; we sell 'em." - Wuta Wuta's story; old men sing a man, make him lose nose. Tilirangara Yumarinya - Refers to it first as mamakungurra, also as ngayukungurra. Turlku purlkanya. - With corroboree, this one. - Ants bit old man, genital, prick karlu purlkanya. - We belong to that country; want to get windmill, pump, go back. Ngurra

In the first moments, Charley tells me that the paintings are turlku, a Pintupi word he translates as “corroborees” (that is, ceremonies, in Aboriginal English), or “stories.” Uta Uta is painting a new one. It is a painting of Yumari (a place whose name means “mother-inlaw”). It is a big story. Charley’s painting was “Emu Dreaming” (the story of the Ancestral Emu). It is his “uncle’s” Dreaming (the ancestral story that belongs to his Mother’s Brother). I was interested in land ownership and therefore, relatedly, rights over stories and places. I must have asked whose country can you paint. Uta Uta is painting “mamakungurra” – his father’s country. His grandfather, I was told, “never got any money for his stories: “He lose ‘em..” A

Well, he ended the story in a way that has often intrigued me by its brilliant connection of the ancestral story and the present. Uta Uta’s painting was of the Yumari story, a story that involves an ancestor who carries sorcery spells and with these, he tells me, elders can sing (sorcerize) a man, make him lose his nose. It is “father’s country, my country. A big ceremony.” Okay. Is that the punch line, that the punishment for not respecting these expectations is to be sorcerized? At the very least, Charley has articulated a significant tension, one that he especially recognized in the relations between Aboriginal people and the non-Indigenous world. The story, as he narrated it, regards a trickster Old Man, often painted by Uta Uta, a character known for his genitals, his large penis – a humorous but also dangerous character of power. And then Charley came to what must have been a larger point about the painting: We belong to that country. We want to get a windmill and a pump, and go back to our country, our ngurra.” Given what I heard in this discussion, it should not be surprising that I did not ask to take a photograph of the painting. Sometimes, it is like that in research, where one conversation introduces most of the things you are going to spend the next several years of your life figuring out.


I spent many, many hours with the painters of Papunya Tula, at various communities, especially in the early years of 1973-75 and in the 1980s. In this time, I have particularly followed the complex movement of the acrylic paintings into the galleries, collections, and museums beyond these communities. The movement Charley describes, a translation of the paintings and the knowledge they embody to an outside, has been very complex. The painters don’t do these works, generally, for display in their own communities, to keep on their own walls. They intend for them to go outside, even if they represent what we might call “sacred knowledge” to them. Actually, they want them to be understood as being something more than “pretty pictures,” as I was taught. Tell them, painters said, that these paintings are not “nguntji” (just for fun). They are tjukurrtjanu, from the Dreaming. They aren’t made up by us. They are true.” In “giving” or “showing” their paintings and stories, the artists are drawing on a tradition of exchange in Western Desert culture in which one demonstrates one’s identity and knowledge in exchange with others, gaining recognition of the rights embodied in the paintings. Showing a painting of Yumari is tantamount to a claim of ownership of the place and the story. So, in a way, that’s one thing one acquires in a painting. In the early years, that’s why the story of the place was so important to the painting. They were engaging their viewers as their contemporaries, as people with whom they were communicating something of importance. Sitting then, in 1973, hundreds of miles away from their country, they painted it on two-dimensional surfaces and hoped that might help them to return.

for invention, exploration, creativity and virtuosity emerged. The early period of Papunya Tula was a remarkable period of invention, of new visual languages, as the painters translated their knowledge and experience into new forms. And these men (it was men for the first decade, anyway) brought their experience of dance in ritual performance, narrative knowledge, knowledge of sacred objects, song, and a considerable prior capacity as craftsmen who made and decorated their own tools of life. The first years are noted for the amazing range and variety of works, as painters borrowed from each other, invented new forms, responded to criticisms of inappropriate revelation and developed some significant conventions of iconography and style. But amazingly, for this small population of Western Desert people, and the current communities of Kintore and Kiwirrkura do not number much more than a thousand, there have been waves of re-invention that show an extraordinary vitality that can only be explained by the continued reinvigoration of painting by people’s experience of their country and the engagement of younger generations with the legacy of their parents and grandparents. I would never have imagined that my younger friends, still boys and girls when I first got there in 1973, would later become masters and creators in their own right. If the painting movement was one part of the momentum that helped Pintupi people return to their homelands in Kintore and Kiwirrkura, that return to country has continued to inspire younger people to paint anew their country and to engage with it as a source of revelation and value.

Fred Myers But recognizing this, even opaquely, has ironically led many viewers to imagine that the painters were somehow not contemporary, that they were at best enacting their traditions on a different surface. Despite Charley’s comments about the desirability of money, for some Western observers, “money” is antithetical to this Indigenous art. But Papunya painting and its emergence as an aesthetic form is incomprehensible without the existence of a market. Its materials – Belgian linen, brushes, acrylic paints – come from far away, and they enable the execution of designs and forms of a complexity, size and stability beyond traditional forms, a freedom of elaboration without the supervision of others that would have been quite rare in the past. The market for painting was not a force eroding value; rather, it allowed individual painters – about to become “artists” – to work individually, repeatedly on works of a distinctive size and shape. In the course of a year, an individual painter might execute fifty works, perhaps more, and in the process of engaging his ritual knowledge with the materials and possibilities of a new surface, the potential

Photo taken at Yinyilingki, NT, July 1979. Charley Tjaruru Tjungurrayi (left) Uta Uta Tjangala (right)


Cultural Capital – North American Encounters with Western Desert Art Since the first public mural on the exterior walls of the Papunya Special School, Western Desert Art has mobilized a powerful assertion of towering cultural knowledge. In North America, it has predominantly been university and college art museums that have wanted to engage with this knowledge in all its aesthetic, cultural and intellectual forms. Recent and upcoming exhibitions at campus galleries at Cornell University, New York University, Dartmouth College and Harvard University reflect the growing international appreciation of Indigenous Art and generate new ways in which Indigenous knowledge and practice is actively mediated across cultural spheres. 1 For Indigenous people from Australia, the land has always been the literal and symbolic bedrock of cultural knowledge. The shapeshifting Ancestors who created the land, named it and passed down the laws of social behaviour on epic journeys, eventually metamorphosed into the earth and vested it with their power. These narratives are reconstituted through ceremonial performances and cultural art production to ensure the well-being of the Ancestors, their sites of residence and the people who are forever connected to them. Within these portraits of “country” (a colloquialism of Aboriginal English meaning culturally inherited tracts of land), are incredible systems of knowledge that have contributed to the physical and spiritual survival of Aboriginal people for over 50,000 years. However, since the colonisation of Australia in 1788, this knowledge was largely devalorised by people who chose not to learn its cultural signification or sophistication. The Honey Ant Mural was

1

Icons of the Desert was an exhibition that focussed on the early Papunya boards

from the collection of John and Barbara Wilkerson. The exhibition was held at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University (10 January–5 April 2009) and Grey Art Gallery, New York University (1 September–5 December, 2009). Harvard Art Museums at Harvard University will present an exhibition called Everywhen that will open in February 2016.


painted beneath the classrooms of the Papunya Special School and it created a powerful statement of cultural agency and pride within the oppressive government settlement. This was the first time that this iconography had been extensively seen by uninitiated people, and it precipitated the radical notion that Indigenous visual culture could have aesthetic, political and intellectual value. Encouraged by Geoffrey Bardon, an artist and art teacher, senior Aboriginal men came together to paint on the outside of the walls of the school. On a symbolic level, this artistic intervention, addressed the suffocating monoculturalism of the Western classroom and created expansionary movement for other modes of knowing, seeing and being. Although undoubtedly the product of intercultural engagement, the designs were uncompromisingly made by Aboriginal people and for Aboriginal people. While Aboriginal art is no longer relegated to the outside of buildings, in various ways, it still negotiates this philosophical couplet of inside and outside through the organization and diffusion of its knowledge and its relationship to the international and Australian art worlds. In the more than forty years since the Honey Ant Mural and the Papunya boards first appeared in the public domain, the Western Desert Art movement and Indigenous art more broadly, has transformed the way in which the landscape can be read and experienced by Australians, and it has become part of contemporary art installations and collections. The cultural critic Paul Carter claimed that the Western Desert Art movement was “perhaps the greatest single cultural achievement of Australia’s post-white settlement history”.2 Indigenous art no longer has to struggle for the legitimacy of its representation in Australian galleries and art museums, however, in the US, each new Indigenous exhibition ushers in familiar 2

discussions about cultural authenticity, aesthetic merit, conceptual rigour, definitional categories and exploitative practices. Of course, these debates still linger in Australia, but there is generally consensus on the cultural and aesthetic value of Indigenous art. Discussions are therefore centred less on qualitative arguments and are more about positionality. Because of the historical legacies of colonisation in Australia, Indigenous art is often seen in opposition to Australian Art. This distinction, often maintained by curators and institutions, has served a political purpose. In the US, however, Indigenous art is seen is more often seen in relation to other forms of contemporary art and is not in direct dialogue with its social history. Against this background, I was invited to curate an exhibition from the recently gifted collection of Indigenous Art from Will Owen and Harvey Wagner at the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College in 2010.3 The exhibition was to be curated from the more than 400 works that Owen and Wagner had gifted as well as many works that were considered promised gifts3. Brian Kennedy, the former director of the National Gallery of Australia who is a tireless advocate of Indigenous Art in North America, had largely cultivated this transformative gift.4 Like other North American collectors, Owen and Wagner became interested in Aboriginal art upon viewing Dreamings: The Art of Aboriginal Australia exhibition at the Asia Society Galleries in New York City in 1988 and soon after, they made their first trip to Australia and acquired their first Aboriginal painting. Spanning more than two decades of collecting, Owen and Wagner’s gift represented the most significant art producing communities in Australia and made the Hood Museum of Art one of the foremost repositories of contemporary Indigenous Australian art in North America. As the curator of the exhibition, I wanted to celebrate not only the gifting of a significant collection of Aboriginal art by Owen and Wagner, but

Paul Carter, “Introduction: The interpretation of dreams,” in Geoffrey Bardon and

James Bardon, Papunya: A place made after the story: The beginning of the Western

3

Desert painting movement, Miegunyah Press, Carlton, 2004, p. xiv.

Museum of Art, Dartmouth College.

Will Owen and Harvey Wagner have now gifted over 500 works to the Hood


also the gifting of ancient knowledge that is shared with and remade anew by contemporary Indigenous artists. The focus of the survey exhibition Crossing Cultures: The Owen and Wagner Collection of Contemporary Aboriginal Australian Art,4 was on teasing out the Ancestral, historical, meteorological, cartographical, astronomical, botanical, cultural knowledge that were embedded in the works from some of the most important art producing communities around Australia. It principally comprised works of art that had been created in the last decade, and the title attempted to make explicit the exhibition’s decidedly temporal scope. Yet, despite the exhibition title, many visitors from undergraduate students to older retirees still brought a residual or substantive primitivist mindset to their awareness of Aboriginal art. This historicising impulse is arguably not as prevalent as it was twentyfive years ago with the Dreamings exhibition, but it is nevertheless an issue that exhibitions still need to address curatorially and programmatically. Curators need to position Indigenous artists as not only guardians of the past, but also as ambassadors of the future. The value of Indigenous painting practice lies in its deep association to the Tjukurrpa (Dreaming),5 which is understood by Pintupi people to be dynamic, relational and temporally fluid. Its value is largely independent of market forces, but it is nevertheless reenergised through reiterative painting practices. For non-Indigenous people, the value of Indigenous painting is also in its relationship to these ancient ancestral referents. This relationship is an endorsement of the painting’s authenticity, which is highly and problematically prized by the market. Yet the emphasis on the Tjukurrpa often serves to immediately place Indigenous people and their concerns into the past and thus they are conceptually filtered out of the experiences and features of the modern world. This interpretive framework can have depoliticising consequences as the historical legacies of colonisation can be conveniently ignored. Conversely, when Indigenous people are accepted to be active participants in the modern world, the authenticity of their cultural capital can often be challenged and this is to participate in a game of blaming the victim of colonisation. The challenge for curators is to present the ways in which Indigenous knowledge and practices are simultaneously embedded in the past, connected to the present and invested in the future. Through the production of art and their engagement with the wider world, Pintupi artists, corroborate and accept the terms of exchange within the contemporary art world. The exhibition’s title Crossing Cultures was deliberately invitational and also invoked new academic definitions of global contemporary art that promotes interconnectedness.6 Within this category, Indigenous art

4

This exhibition was organized by the Hood Museum of Art and generously

supported by Kate and Yaz Krehbiel, Class of 1991, Thayer 1992, Hugh J. Freund, Class of 1967, the Leon C. 1927, Charles L. 1955, and Andrew J. 1984 Greenebaum Fund, and the Philip Fowler 1927 Memorial Fund. 5

Fred R. Myers, Truth, Beauty and Pintupi Painting, in Visual Anthropology, Vol. 2,

1989, P. 165. 6

Ian McLean, “What’s contemporary about Aboriginal Contemporary Art?” In The

world is not a foreign land, edited by Quentin Sprague, The Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne, 2014, PP. 52-53.


is immediately positioned not as the other but simply as another form of contemporary art that demands our attention. Of course, the category of the contemporary is not a conflict-free space, but it does present an opportunity to imagine the world otherwise and to encounter its multiplicity. Indigenous artists can therefore negotiate, defend and reconstitute their difference in generative ways that resist the deadening and flattening of the world’s cultural complexity. One of the first works that visitors encountered in the Crossing Cultures exhibition was Wirrulnga (2004), by Ningura Napurrula (1938-2013). Her late husband, Yala Yala Gibbs Tjungurrayi was one of the founders of the Papunya Tula Artists in the early 1970s. While it was important to reference this historical moment, I also wanted the exhibition to concentrate on the subsequent generations of painters who have taken up the Western Desert Art Movement and taken it to a different level. The work visualised the multi-modal practice of drawing in the sand with two or three fingers and narrating events from the Tjukurrpa. The painting invoked the idea of forging an embodied relationship to the earth that is activated through touch and experience. The settlement of Papunya was located on the lands of the Honey Ant Dreaming and the founding artists responded to the memory of place in determining the subject matter of the Honey Ant Mural. Similarly, in the Americas, it is crucial to follow Indigenous protocols from Australia and acknowledge the Indigenous narratives of the land, both ancestral and colonial. Making historical, cultural, and philosophical connections to Native Americans is an essential component of Indigenous exhibitions from Australia. It can help foster dialogue to make the histories and contemporary realities of Native Americans more legible to visitors and to contribute to the global discourse of Indigeniety. At each event associated with the exhibition, I acknowledged the Abenaki People on whose land Dartmouth College was built and halfway through the first month of the exhibition, I realised that I needed to explain the cultural and political motivations for such an acknowledgement. The Director of the Hood Museum of Art, Michael Taylor and the interim President of Dartmouth College, Carol Folt also voluntarily enacted similar acknowledgements of country when they spoke publically about the exhibition and it was touching to see these practices become part of the Hood Museum of Art’s ethos. Art has provided the crucial public platform with which Indigenous people can make legible certain aspects of their cultural inheritance and post-colonial experiences. While Indigenous art is inherently localized it nevertheless has global resonance. And perhaps its greatest gift is that, momentarily, it can help us stop thinking about the accelerating losses of the globe and start thinking about the richness of the earth and how we can best preserve its past, present and future.

Stephen Gilchrist


On Becoming an American Collector of Aboriginal Art When I took off for my first visit to Australia in 1990, I thought I was making the best of poor planning. My partner and I had intended to use frequent flier miles for a European Christmas vacation. But by the time we tried to make reservations at Thanksgiving, every seat was long since booked.

and the complicated relationship at its heart between the people and the land. “Aboriginal people don’t own the land,” he told us. “The land owns them.”

Frustrated, we asked what was left.

Each individual is tied to a particular piece of land—known as one’s country—by virtue of being born there, having family or family history there, or having ancestors buried there.

“I can get you on a plane to Sydney,” the agent offered. The surprise destination led us directly to a passion for Aboriginal art that has drawn us back again and again to Australia. Our first experience of Aboriginal art actually came two years before the Sydney trip, when we visited an exhibition at the Asia Society in New York called Dreamings: The Art of Aboriginal Australia. The paintings, with their arrays of small dots, elaborate patterns in startling colors, and puzzling iconography took us, lifelong art lovers, by surprise. We had no idea Australia’s Aboriginal people made art, much less crazy, beautiful art like this.

For Aboriginal people, the country is a living, sentient being. When they are away from it, they say that they worry for the country and the country worries for them.

From Sacred to Public

Attempts to follow up on the find, though, fizzled. We watched plenty of National Geographic specials, but all we saw were beaches, surfing, and sheep ranching. We didn’t get the sense you could go to Australia and see the art.

The paintings that had so intrigued us were, in fact, the outpouring of a great deal of worry. In the 1950s, many Aboriginal people were uprooted from the drought-plagued countryside west of Alice Springs and resettled in “ration depots.” It was a deeply painful period; many of those who left their country did not realize in doing so that they would not be able to return for decades, if ever. Worse, government policies of “breeding out the color” meant that many children were forcibly removed from their parents and families. Not until 2008 did a newly elected government apologize for policies effectively meant to drive the people into extinction.

It was not until we arrived there and took a day trip to the country west of Alice Springs, home of Papunya Tula Artists, that everything came together. Piled into a Land Cruiser with five other passengers, we listened, captivated, as our guide described Aboriginal culture

Against this grim background, in 1971 a teacher from Sydney named Geoffrey Bardon watched children at the settlement of Papunya, 150 miles west of Alice Springs, tell stories by depicting images such as animal tracks in the sand. But when Bardon invited them to paint


CROSSING CULTURES: The Owen and Wagner Collection of Contemporary Aboriginal Australian Art at the Hood Museum of Art Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, September 15, 2012–March 10, 2013


their stories with poster paints in the classroom, the children refused. They understood that they were not allowed to share their stories with outsiders who were not initiated into the sacred knowledge that underlay them. Instead, it was the elders of Papunya who agreed to paint for the schoolteacher. At first, a group of older men painted a mural on the wall of the Papunya school building. Soon, with paints that the schoolteacher supplied, they began producing artworks on nearly anything they could find— scrap lumber, old linoleum tiles, discarded cabinet doors. The men had discovered an outlet for their pent-up longing and worry for their far-off country. For the first time, they painted in a permanent form the stories of Papunya and of their homelands. They represented landscapes and history in a sanctioned “public” version of stories that had, until then, been rendered only in secret, sacred forms that they obliterated once they had served their ritual purpose. They painted so prolifically that Bardon was soon traveling to Alice Springs where he sold the art in order to purchase more supplies.

Crossing Cultures: The Owen and Wagner Collection of Contemporary Aboriginal Australian Art at the Hood Museum of Art Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH, April 12 – July 14, 2013


When, years later, some of the people who had been settled at Papunya at last returned to their ancestral country further west at Kintore and Kiwirrkura, they took with them a new-found medium for expression, access to an emerging market for their work, and a drive to explain themselves and their way of life through art to the very society that had sought to extinguish them.

Learning and Sharing While we were in Alice Springs, the paintings that we had seen in New York came back to us as an intellectual challenge. The work, and the philosophy behind it, was so alien, so unlike anything that we had encountered before. We wanted to try to solve the puzzle, to understand these minds that saw the world in such a different way. The first and best way to do that was to continue looking at the art. We were fortunate to be able to return to Australia three years later to visit museums and galleries and to begin to meet people who shared our interests and passion. We were also fortunate that soon after the advent of the World Wide Web allowed us to continue our collecting from America. With the help of knowledgeable gallerists in Australia, like the staff at Papunya Tula Artists who knew us, our tastes, and our interests, we began to build a collection that eventually encompassed the many different styles of Aboriginal art made across the continent. For more than two decades, we invested in work ranging from traditional forms of painting to modern interpretations in sculpture, photography, and video.

The Owen and Wagner Collection of Contemporary Aboriginal Australian Art, opened in 2012 to notices in Art in America and Art & Antiques before traveling the following year to the Toledo Museum of Art. As I continued to read up on anthropology, history, and art, I started blogging to keep track of all I was learning. I published the first post of Aboriginal Art and Culture: An American Eye in 2005. Recently, the National Library of Australia honored me by asking permission to permanently archive the blog in Pandora, “Australia’s Web Archive.” Eventually, I came to see this research and writing as an extension of the efforts of Aboriginal people themselves to explain their lives and their world. I hope to continue bridging the gap between modern Western culture and a people who remain incredibly generous in spite of all they’ve endured. For more than 200 years, the Aboriginal people of Australia have been held up as the exemplar of the most primitive people on Earth. In fact, their art—which is extremely popular both in Australia and abroad, which the government has appropriated as a unique symbol of Australia—is the highly sophisticated means by which these people have reached out across the racial divide, against bigotry, condescension, and hatred, to share what is theirs with the rest of us. Living in the extreme conditions of the deserts means that you have to share what you have, or else you die. Their art is the way they’ve chosen to share their culture with us.

The grand passion that began with an unexpected flight to Sydney has led to other life-changing surprises, as well. Will Owen We attended the 2006 opening of the Musée du quai Branly, a Parisian museum of world cultures that commissioned eight Aboriginal artists to create work that was literally built into the architecture of its administrative building. In 2007 I was one of seven Americans that the Australian Trade Commission invited to visit 24 Aboriginal communities across the country, including Kintore, home of many of the artists whose works are included in this exhibition. For me, it was a chance to see where the artists lived, where they created, and what inspired their art. I took photographs of works in our collection along with me on my iPod on that trip, and shared them with artists I met along the way. While I was thrilled to be sitting down with Makinti Napanangka or shaking hands with George Tjungurrayi, the artists were just as thrilled to see a photograph of one of their paintings hanging in an American home. It had long been our hope that the collection we curated could continue to be enjoyed and, more importantly, used to further the study of Aboriginal art. We were fortunate indeed to be able to begin donating our collection to the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College in 2009. A fully cataloged exhibition, Crossing Cultures:

Crossing Cultures: The Owen and Wagner Collection of Contemporary Aboriginal Australian Art at the Hood Museum of Art, Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH, April 12 – July 14, 2013


CENTRESTAGE Taking Papunya Tula Art to the World The origin of the Papunya Tula Artists company in the early 1970s is widely regarded as the beginning of the contemporary Aboriginal art movement in Australia. However, it should be seen as a significant event among many that were happening in Aboriginal Australia heralding in an era of self-determination across social, cultural and political agendas. The newly designed Aboriginal flag by Luritja countryman Harold Thomas in its signature red, black and yellow was unfurled for the first time in 1971, rallying the activists calling for land rights that culminated in the legislative watershed of the Northern Territory Land Rights Act of 1975. Founding Papunya Tula artist member, Charlie Tarawa Tjungurrayi’s declaration,“If I don’t paint this story some whitefella might come steal my country,” captures the spirit of the times and driving philosophy shared by his contemporaries. Tjungurrayi is credited with giving the group its name in 1972 for the Honey Ant site at the Papunya community. He was also one of the key protagonists in the growing migration to the fledging settlements of Haasts Bluff and then Papunya of desert people seeking relief from a sustained drought and frontier violence in the 1950s and 60s. Encouraged by a visionary schoolteacher, Geoffrey Bardon, the handful of artists living in transitional camps around Papunya, began inscribing their ancestral stories in works of brilliant conceptual rigour and arresting beauty. While there were some precedents to this imagery appearing on contemporary materials at the behest of anthropological researchers, the production of the works under the banner of Papunya Tula Artists may be regarded as the purposeful artist-driven genesis of a major contemporary art movement; international art critic Robert Hughes is credited with describing Aboriginal art as the last great art movement of the twentieth century. In the early 1970s, only a very few prescient art aficionados, including founding director of the Aboriginal Arts Board of the Australia Council, Dr Robert Edwards, and founding director of the Northern Territory Museum and Art Gallery, Dr Colin Jack-Hinton, appreciated the unique cultural and aesthetic qualities of the paintings. Mostly,


the appearance of these works was met with silence compared to the also farsighted yet controversial 1973 acquisition of Jackson Pollock’s Blue Poles 1952 for the national collection. The entirely coincidental synergy of the prevalence of nonrepresentational imagery and use of nontraditional mediums by ‘outsider’ artists, often working in collaboration, in both genres is incidental to the vast social and cultural differences that make these art movements otherwise irreconcilably distinct. Often mistakenly conflated, the ‘arrival’ of abstract impressionism and Western desert painting in Australia did, however, both have a significant impact on the maturation of the national cultural psyche. The value of the early Papunya Tula paintings, known as boards due to their composition on discarded building and commercial materials, to the national cultural corpus was primarily realised retrospectively. By the turn of the twentieth century, the significance of these works precipitated changes to Commonwealth legislation governing the protection of cultural assets to prevent the permanent export of these paintings overseas in response to the feverish appetite of international collectors for works of profound cultural significance. The descendants of the founding artists continue to receive annual dividends under the direction of a board of artists. While its retail premises remain based in Mparntwe (Alice Springs), the Papunya Tula company has always supported the artists and their families who mostly live in remote desert settlements, having followed the return of families to their traditional lands and the establishment of the Walungurru (Kintore) and Kiwirrkura communities. The founding of permanent settlements led to further ‘new’ arrivals as recently as 1984 when Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri and other members of his family, including Yukultji Napangati, made contact with relations who had returned to their traditional homelands. Both Tjapaltjarri and Napangati are now shareholders of the company and among its most acclaimed artists. More recently, the Papunya Tula Artists has amplified its support of the artists and their communities, building a swimming pool in Walungurru and initiating vital health services to tackle the endemic incidence of renal failure and dearth of aged care services in remote area communities. Perhaps what most distinguishes the Papunya Tula Artists movement in the plethora of Indigenous arts initiatives, which preceded and followed its establishment, is its remarkable longevity, its sustained aesthetic excellence, cultural gravitas and, albeit slow burning, international recognition in the contemporary art world. In 1983 Charlie Tarawa Tjungurrayi travelled to Amsterdam to participate in Nightsea Crossing, a performance work by artists Ulay and Marina Abramovic. Papunya Tula Artists featured in the landmark exhibition ‘Dreamings: the art of Aboriginal Australia‘ staged at the Asia Society Galleries in 1988 in New York, and in 2012 Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri and the late Doreen Reid Nakamarra were invited to exhibit in Germany at dOCUMENTA (13). The connection to country that has governed the physical and spiritual lives of the desert people for millennia is palpably articulated in their contemporary paintings. Often mesmerizingly hypnotic in their play of parallel lines or swirling dots, the paintings are vessels for expressing the power of the Tjukurrpa (dreaming) that courses

through the landscape and evokes significant sites that mark places of ancestral agency. Within these sentient landscape paintings, natural features such as rockholes, along with objects including hairstring belts and digging sticks, are revealed to underscore the narratives depicted within the composition, as seen in Ningura Napurrula’s painting of Wirrulnga, an important women’s rockhole site east of Kiwirrkura. That the means of conveying these stories (with acrylic paints on Belgian linen) is immaterial is best understood by an anecdote from the painting studio in Walungurru where the late Makinti Napanangka reigned during the last years of her life. At one time blinded by the cataracts that plague many Indigenous people, she would occasionally continue to paint beyond the surface of the canvas laid out on the studio floor, unbounded by the strictures of conventional art practice. Always the first to arrive at the studio with her devoted troupe of camp dogs, she approached this new form of cultural activity with the same verve that characterized all aspects of her life. Song and dance was as intrinsic to the creation of her work as the vivid pastel shades she chose from the paint room. The contemporary paintings of the Papunya Tula Artists have been exhibited at distinguished art institutions around the world and are universally acclaimed. Yet to sit with the artists while they create their paintings in some of the remotest and most beautiful places on earth is a rare privilege. American artist Mike Rakowitz, was fortunate to have this experience on a visit to Australia for the Biennale of Sydney 2008 (in which his work was included, along with Doreen Reid Nakamarra). He compared the aesthetic quality and intent of the paintings he saw being created to illustrated manuscripts, finding a synergy in the way the crafting of these antique works in the Western tradition afforded stature to ancient scriptures. As artists paint in the desert lands, seated on the ground, they often relate an anecdote from their young lives, or sing or pause to perform a physical gesture. These creative expressions are synonymous to the act of painting and all part of a vaster conceptual whole that links people and place, the secular and the sacred, the past and the present. It is the tie that binds the founding and new generation of Papunya Tula artists. To me these paintings are songs of love, each one uniquely beautiful and part of a chorus that has been sung for millennia.

Hetti Perkins


Lake Mackay Kiwirrkura

Kintore

Lake Macdonald

Papunya Alice Springs


1. N  ingura Napurrula Birthing site of Wirrulnga, 2008 72” x 96” 2. G  eorge Tjungurrayi Ngangkari boys at Kirrimalunya, 2008 72” x 96” 3. Y  inarupa Nangala Ancestral women at Mukula, 2014 72” x 96” 4. W  arlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri Tingari men at Marawa, 2014 72” x 60” 5. Y  ukultji Napangati Ancestral women at Yunala, 2013 60” x 72” 6. R  onnie Tjampitjinpa Rain making ceremonies at Wilkinkarra, 2004 60” x 48” 7. B  obby West Tjupurrula Snake Dreaming at Wilkinkarra, 2014 60” x 48” 8. W  alangkura Napanangka Kutungka Napanangka at Tjintjintjin, 2009 60” x 48” 9. Y  ukultji Napangati Ancestral women at Yunala, 2010 48” x 60” 10. M  akinti Napanangka Two travelling women at Lupulnga, 2009 48” x 54”

11. Walangkura Napanangka (Uta Uta Tjangala’s widow)

Women’s ceremonies at Tjukurla, 2007 60” x 36” 12. Nyilyari Tjapangati Tingari men at Wilkinkarra, 2012 42” x 48” 13. Patrick Tjungurrayi Kampurarrpa Dreaming at Kura, 2010 48” x 42” 14. Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri Tingari men at Marawa, 2012 48” x 42” 15. Johnny Yungut Tjupurrula Tingari men at Tjulnga, 2010 48” x 36” 16. Ronnie Tjampitjinpa Perentie Dreaming at Walungurru, 2012 48” x 36” 17. George Tjungurrayi Ngangkari boys at Kirrimalunya, 2011 42” x 36” 18. Ray James Tjangala Tingari men at Mukula, 2013 42” x 36” 19. Matthew West Tjupurrula Kingfisher Dreaming at Wirrimanu, 2014 36” x 36”


Ningura Napurrula 1. Birthing site of Wirrulnga, 2008 72� x 96� This painting depicts designs associated with Wirrulnga, a rockhole site in a small rocky outcrop east of the Kiwirrkura Community in Western Australia. In ancestral times, a group of women of the Napaltjarri and Napurrula kinship subsections camped at this site after travelling from the rockhole site of Ngaminya further west. The women are represented in the painting by the arc shapes. Wirrulnga is a site which is associated with birth, and the lines adjacent to the roundels symbolise the extended shape of a pregnant woman of the Napaltjarri kinship subsection who gave birth at the site. While at Wirrulnga the women also made spun hair-string with which to make nyimparra (hair-string skirts), which are worn during ceremonies. From Wirrulnga the women continued their travels north east to Wilkinkarra (Lake Mackay). As they travelled they gathered large quantities of the bush food known as kampurarrpa or desert raisin from the plant Solanum centrale. These berries can be eaten straight from the bush but are sometimes ground into a paste and cooked in the coals to form a type of damper.


George Tjungurrayi 2. Ngangkari boys at Kirrimalunya, 2008 72� x 96� This painting depicts designs associated with the claypan site of Kirrimalunya, north of Wilkinkarra (Lake Mackay) in Western Australia. In ancestral times, two young ngangkaris, or traditional healers, lived at this site and travelled great distances to use their healing powers. Healing power is generally acquired by ngangkaris by the time they are around ten years old. While at Kirrimalunya, the boys gathered mungilypa or samphire from the small eshy sub-shrub Tecticornia verrucosa. The seeds from this plant can be ground into a paste which is then cooked in the coals to form a type of unleavened bread. This mythology forms part of the Tingari Song Cycle. Since events associated with the Tingari Cycle are of a secret nature no further detail was given. Generally, the Tingari are a group of ancestral beings of the Dreaming who travelled over vast stretches of the country performing rituals and creating and shaping particular sites. The Tingari men were usually followed by Tingari women and were accompanied by novices, and their travels and adventures are enshrined in a number of song cycles. These ancestral stories form part of the teachings of the post initiatory youths today as well as providing explanations for contemporary customs.


Yinarupa Nangala 3. Ancestral women at Mukula, 2014 72” x 96” This painting depicts designs associated with the rockhole site of Mukula, east of Jupiter Well in Western Australia. During ancestral times a large group of women came from the west and stopped at this site to perform the ceremonies associated with the area. The women, represented in the painting by the ‘U’ shapes, later continued their travels towards the east, passing through Ngaminya, Kiwirrkura and Wirrulnga on their way to Wilkinkarra (Lake Mackay). As the women travelled, they gathered a variety of bush foods including kampurarrpa berries (desert raisin) from the small shrub Solanum centrale, and pura (bush tomato) from the plant Solanum chippendalei. Kampurarrpa berries can be eaten directly from the plant but are sometimes ground into a paste and cooked on the coals as a type of damper, while pura is roughly the size of an apricot, and after the seeds have been removed, can be stored for long periods by halving the fruit and skewering them onto a stick. The shapes in the painting represent the features of the country through which they travelled as well as the bush foods they gathered.


Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri 4. Tingari men at Marawa, 2014 72� x 60� This painting depicts designs associated with the swamp site of Marawa, situated slightly west of Wilkinkarra (Lake Mackay) in Western Australia. There are both rockholes and soakage waters at this site. During ancestral times, a large group of Tingari men travelled to Marawa from further west, and after arriving at the site, passed beneath the earth’s surface and continued travelling underground. It is also said that a huge ancestral snake sleeps in this swamp. Since events associated with the Tingari Cycle are of a secret nature no further detail was given. Generally, the Tingari are a group of ancestral beings of the Dreaming who travelled over vast stretches of the country performing rituals and creating and shaping particular sites. The Tingari men were usually followed by Tingari women and were accompanied by novices, and their travels and adventures are enshrined in a number of song cycles. These ancestral stories form part of the teachings of the post initiatory youths today as well as providing explanations for contemporary customs.


Yukultji Napangati 5. Ancestral women at Yunala, 2013 60� x 72� This painting depicts designs associated with Yunala, a rockhole and soakage water site situated among sandhills just to the west of the Kiwirrkura community in Western Australia. A group of ancestral women camped at this site after travelling from various sites further west. While at Yunala the women camped beside the rockhole digging for the edible roots of the bush banana or silky pear vine Marsdenia australis, also known as yunala, which are plentiful in this area of country. The lines in the work represent both the sandhills surrounding the site as well as the yunala tubers growing underground. The women later continued their travels towards the east, passing through Marrapinti, Ngaminya and Wirrulnga on their way to Wilkinkarra (Lake Mackay).


Ronnie Tjampitjinpa 6. Rain making ceremonies at Wilkinkarra, 2004 60� x 48� This painting depicts body paint designs associated with Rain Making Ceremonies at Wilkinkarra (Lake Mackay) in Western Australia. In mythological times, a large group of Tingari Men came to Wilkinkarra after passing through a series of sites further west. Since events associated with the Tingari Cycle are of a secret nature no further detail was given. Generally, the Tingari are a group of ancestral beings of the Dreaming who travelled over vast stretches of the country, performing rituals and creating and shaping particular sites. The Tingari men were usually followed by Tingari women and were accompanied by novices, and their travels and adventures are enshrined in a number of song cycles. These ancestral stories form part of the teachings of the post initiatory youths today as well as providing explanations for contemporary customs.


Bobby West Tjupurrula 7. Snake Dreaming at Wilkinkarra, 2014 60� x 48� This painting depicts designs associated with the Snake Dreaming at Wilkinkarra (Lake Mackay). In ancestral times, a snake ancestor passed through this site after travelling from further east. After entering Wilkinkarra, the snake travelled underground, eventually surfacing further west and continuing towards the site of Nyinmi. A large group of Tingari Men also converged on Wilkinkarra after having travelled from the west. Prior to arriving at Wilkinkarra, the men passed through the sites of Palipalintja, Yunala and Tarkul. The large oval shape in the work represents a huge claypan the men visited before arriving at Wilkinkarra. Since events associated with the Tingari Cycle are of a secret nature no further detail was given. Generally, the Tingari are a group of mythical characters of the Dreaming who travelled over vast stretches of the country, performing rituals and creating and shaping particular sites. The Tingari Men were usually followed by Tingari Women and accompanied by novices, and their travels and adventures are enshrined in a number of song cycles. These mythologies form part of the teachings of the post initiatory youths today as well as providing explanations for contemporary customs.


Walangkura Napanangka 8. Kutungka Napanangka at Tjintjintjin, 2009 60� x 48� This painting depicts designs associated with the rockhole and cave site of Tjintjintjin, just to the west of the Kintore Community. The shapes in this painting depict the geographical features in the area through which an old woman, Kutungka Napanangka, passed during her travels from Malparingya in the northwest. At this site Kutungka knew of an ancestral kuniya (snake) that lived underground. She proceeded to dig a hole in search of the kuniya, eventually locating and killing it. She then cooked and ate it before continuing her travels east to Muruntji, southwest of Mt. Liebig. At Muruntji she was accosted by one boy in a group, so she chased them and caught all but the culprit who managed to escape. She killed the others and cooked them in a fire. She then travelled to Kaltarra where she entered the earth.


Yukultji Napangati 9. Ancestral women at Yunala, 2010 48� x 60� This painting depicts designs associated with Yunala, a rockhole and soakage water site situated among sandhills just to the west of the Kiwirrkura community in Western Australia. During ancestral times, a group of women camped at this site after travelling from further west. While at Yunala the women camped beside the rockhole, digging for the edible roots of the bush banana or silky pear vine Marsdenia australis, also known as yunala. The lines in the work represent both the sandhills surrounding the site as well as the yunala tubers underground. The women later continued their travels towards the east, passing through Marrapinti, Ngaminya and Wirrulnga on their way to Wilkinkarra (Lake Mackay).


Makinti Napanangka 10. Two travelling women at Lupulnga, 2009 48� x 54� This painting depicts designs associated with the site of Lupulnga, a series of small rockholes situated south of the Kintore Community. The Peewee (small bird) Dreaming is associated with this site as well as the Kungka Kutjarra or Two Travelling Women Dreaming. During mythological times, the Two Travelling Women visited this site holding ceremonies associated with the area. They then continued their travels north to Kaakuratintja (Lake MacDonald), and later through the Kintore area. The lines in the painting represent spun hair-string which is used in the making of nyimparra (hair-belts), which are worn by both men and women during ceremonies.


Walangkura Napanangka (Uta Uta Tjangala’s widow) 11. Women’s ceremonies at Tjukurla, 2007 60” x 36” This painting depicts designs associated with a lake site near the Tjukurla Community in Western Australia. The rows of parallel lines in the painting represent the tali (sandhills) surrounding the site, while the roundels are the lakes and claypans. A group of ancestral women travelled to this site and made nyimparra (hair-string skirts), which were worn by the women during ceremonies related to the site. While in the area the women also gathered mungilypa or samphire seeds from the small fleshy sub-shrub Tecticornia verrucosa, and the edible berries known as kampurarrpa or desert raisin from the small shrub Solanum centrale. These seeds and berries were ground into a paste and cooked in the coals to make damper.


Nyilyari Tjapangati 12. Tingari men at Wilkinkarra, 2012 42� x 48� This painting depicts designs associated with the salt lake site of Wilkinkarra (Lake Mackay). In mythological times, a large group of Tingari Men visited this site after travelling from the west. The men had also previously visited the rockhole site of Winparku (Mt. Webb) further south. The jagged lines in the painting represent the path of the Tingari men as they travelled towards Wilkinkarra, while the concentric squares depict the rockholes and soakages the men visited on their travels. These designs are also consistent with those used during rain making ceremonies. Since events associated with the tingari cycle are of a secret nature no further detail was given. Generally, the tingari are a group of mythical characters of the Dreaming who travelled over vast stretches of the country, performing rituals and creating and shaping particular sites. The tingari men were usually followed by tingari women and accompanied by novices, and their travels and adventures are enshrined in a number of song cycles. These mythologies form part of the teachings of the post initiatory youths today as well as providing explanations for contemporary customs.


Patrick Tjungurrayi 13. Kampurarrpa Dreaming at Kura, 2010 48� x 42� This painting depicts designs associated with the soakage site of Kurra, west of Jupiter Well in Western Australia. In ancestral times, a large group of Tingari men passed through this site during their travels towards the east. The Kampurarrpa (Desert Raisin) Dreaming is associated with this area. Kampurarrpa is the berry from the small shrub Solanum centrale. These berries can be eaten straight from the bush but are sometimes ground into a paste and cooked in the coals to form a type of damper. Since events associated with the Tingari Cycle are of a secret nature no further detail was given. Generally, the Tingari are a group of ancestral beings of the Dreaming who travelled over vast stretches of the country performing rituals and creating and shaping particular sites. The Tingari men were usually followed by Tingari women and were accompanied by novices, and their travels and adventures are enshrined in a number of song cycles. These ancestral stories form part of the teachings of the post initiatory youths today as well as providing explanations for contemporary customs.


Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri 14. Tingari men at Marawa, 2012 48� x 42� This painting depicts designs associated with the swamp site of Marawa, situated slightly west of Wilkinkarra (Lake Mackay) in Western Australia. There are both rockholes and soakage waters at this site. During ancestral times, a large group of Tingari men travelled to Marawa from further west, and after arriving at the site, passed beneath the earth’s surface and continued travelling underground. It is also said that a huge ancestral snake sleeps in this swamp. Since events associated with the Tingari Cycle are of a secret nature no further detail was given. Generally, the Tingari are a group of ancestral beings of the Dreaming who travelled over vast stretches of the country performing rituals and creating and shaping particular sites. The Tingari men were usually followed by Tingari women and were accompanied by novices, and their travels and adventures are enshrined in a number of song cycles. These ancestral stories form part of the teachings of the post initiatory youths today as well as providing explanations for contemporary customs.


Johnny Yungut Tjupurrula 15. Tingari men at Tjulnga, 2010 48� x 36� This painting depicts designs associated with Tjulnga, a rockhole site east of the Kiwirrkura community in Western Australia. The roundels in this painting depict the rockholes at the site. In ancestral times, a large group of Tingari men came to this site from the west on their travels toward Wilkinkarra (Lake Mackay). Since events associated with the Tingari Cycle are of a secret nature no further detail was given. Generally, the Tingari are a group of ancestral beings of the Dreaming who travelled over vast stretches of the country performing rituals and creating and shaping particular sites. The Tingari men were usually followed by Tingari women and were accompanied by novices, and their travels and adventures are enshrined in a number of song cycles. These ancestral stories form part of the teachings of the post initiatory youths today as well as providing explanations for contemporary customs.


Ronnie Tjampitjinpa 16. Perentie Dreaming at Walungurru, 2012 48� x 36� This painting depicts designs associated with the site of Walungurru (Kintore) in the Northern Territory. In ancestral times, a ngintaka (perentie) came to this site from the west. Two women tracked the ngintaka to Kintore and eventually found it. One of the women then held the ngintaka while the other killed it. When the ngintaka died, it turned to stone and became the mountain, a very prominent landmark next to the Kintore community. This site is also associated with the Tingari song cycle. Since events associated with the Tingari Cycle are of a secret nature no further detail was given. Generally, the Tingari are a group of ancestral beings of the Dreaming who travelled over vast stretches of the country performing rituals and creating and shaping particular sites. The Tingari men were usually followed by Tingari women and were accompanied by novices, and their travels and adventures are enshrined in a number of song cycles. These ancestral stories form part of the teachings of the post initiatory youths today as well as providing explanations for contemporary customs.


George Tjungurrayi 17. Ngangkari boys at Kirrimalunya, 2011 42� x 36� This painting depicts designs associated with the claypan site of Kirrimalunya, north of Wilkinkarra (Lake Mackay) in Western Australia. In ancestral times, two young ngangkaris, or traditional healers, lived at this site and travelled great distances to use their healing powers. Healing power is generally acquired by ngangkaris by the time they are around ten years old. While at Kirrimalunya, the boys gathered mungilypa or samphire from the small eshy sub-shrub Tecticornia verrucosa. The seeds from this plant can be ground into a paste which is then cooked in the coals to form a type of unleavened bread. This mythology forms part of the Tingari Song Cycle. Since events associated with the Tingari Cycle are of a secret nature no further detail was given. Generally, the Tingari are a group of ancestral beings of the Dreaming who travelled over vast stretches of the country performing rituals and creating and shaping particular sites. The Tingari men were usually followed by Tingari women and were accompanied by novices, and their travels and adventures are enshrined in a number of song cycles. These ancestral stories form part of the teachings of the post initiatory youths today as well as providing explanations for contemporary customs.


Ray James Tjangala 18. Tingari men at Mukula, 2013 42� x 36� This painting depicts designs associated with the rockhole site of Mukula, situated in open flat country just to the east of Jupiter Well in Western Australia. In mythological times, a large group of Tingari Men camped at this site instructing the young men prior to initiation ceremonies. The group later continued travelling towards the southeast to Kulkuta, west of the Tjukurla Community. Since events associated with the Tingari Cycle are of a secret nature no further detail was given. Generally, the Tingari are a group of ancestral beings of the Dreaming who travelled over vast stretches of the country performing rituals and creating and shaping particular sites. The Tingari men were usually followed by Tingari women and were accompanied by novices, and their travels and adventures are enshrined in a number of song cycles. These ancestral stories form part of the teachings of the post initiatory youths today as well as providing explanations for contemporary customs.


Matthew West Tjupurrula 19. Kingfisher Dreaming at Wirrimanu, 2014 36� x 36� This painting relates to the site of Wirrimanu near the Balgo community in Western Australia. The Luunpa or Kingfisher Dreaming travelled south from this site to Umari rockhole east of the Kiwirrkura Community. This site was also visited by a group of travelling Tingari men and the mythology forms part of the Tingari Song Cycle. Since events associated with the Tingari Cycle are of a secret nature no further detail was given. Generally, the Tingari are a group of mythical characters of the Dreaming who travelled over vast stretches of the country performing rituals and creating and shaping particular sites. The Tingari Men were usually followed by Tingari Women and accompanied by novices, and their travels and adventures are enshrined in a number of song cycles. These mythologies form part of the teachings of the post initiatory youths today as well as providing explanations for contemporary customs.


PAPUNYA TULA ARTISTS Indigenous Paintings From Australia’s Western Desert Papunya Tula Artists Pty Ltd in conjunction with Harvey Art Projects USA 13 February – 13 March 2015 Brumby – Ute 501 E Hyman Ave Aspen CO 81611 USA Papunya Tula Artists PO Box 1620 Alice Springs Northern Territory 0871 Australia T. +61 8 8952 7431 F. +61 8 8953 2509 E. art@papunyatula.com.au W. www.papunyatula.com.au Harvey Art Projects USA PO Box 3207 Sun Valley Idaho 83353 USA T. +1 208 309 8676 E. info@harveyartprojects.com W. www.harveyartprojects.com

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Silver Chair Professor Fred Myers, Hetti Perkins, Will Owen, Stephen Gilchrist, Julie Harvey, Harvey Art Projects, Paul Sweeney, Ben Danks, Elizabeth Campbell, Matthew Forster, Field Officers of Papunya Tula Artists, Embassy of Australia – Washington, Wayne Fan, Department of the Chief Minister, Bellette Media, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. Special thanks Ray James Tjangala, Matthew West Tjupurrula, the painters of Papunya Tula Artists, and Nancy Dibiaggio for supplying the spark. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher. © Papunya Tula Artists Pty Ltd. 2015. ISBN: 978-0-646-93250-7 Graphic Design: Kate Elgee, Mandala Media. Photography: Paul Sweeney, Will Owen, Fred Myers. Plate 3 image courtesy Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, photograph by Nicholas Gouldhurst. Printed by: Mandala Media, Hailey, Idaho, USA


PapunyaTulaASPEN2015  

Superb contemporary works drawn from the highly acclaimed and internationally recognized Papunya Tula Artists. Following on from the landma...

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