NGV Symposium – ‘Tjukurrtjanu: Origins of Western Desert Art’

A range of speakers will discuss the origins and evolution of the Western Desert Art movement.

Uta Uta Tjangala Pintupi c.1926-90 Women’s Dreaming 1972 synthetic polymer paint on composition board 45.0 x 37.0 cm Stephen Bush, Coffs Harbour, New South Wales © artists and their estates 2011, licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency Limited and Papunya Tula Artists Pty Ltd

Speakers include:

  • Fred Myers, Silver Prof & Chair, Department of Anthropology, New York University
  • Dr Philip Batty, Senior Curator, Anthropology (Central Australia), Museum Victoria
  • Dick Kimber, historian & catalogue contributor
  • Prof Paul Carter, Chair in Creative Place Research, Deakin University
  • Paul Sweeney, Manager, Papunya Tula Artists
  • Bobby West Tjupurrula, Papunya Tula artist

About the Exhibition

Tjukurrtjanu: Origins of Western Desert Art features over 200 of the first paintings produced at Papunya in 1971–72 by the founding artists of the Western Desert art movement. The exhibition includes works by artists such as Uta Uta Tjangala, Shorty Lungkata Tjungurrayi and Johnny Warangkula Tjupurrula.

Tjukurrtjanu establishes the connection between these first works on board and their iconographic sources: the ancestral designs that embellish objects, the human body and the ground in ritual contexts. The exhibition will begin with a massing of painted shields and will feature separate groupings of richly decorated spear throwers, stone knives, pearl shell pendants and men’s headbands. This important selection of rare historical objects will prepare the viewer for a once in a lifetime opportunity to see 200 of the first paintings on composition board by 20 great pioneering Papunya Tula artists.

These extraordinary works sparked the genesis of the Western Desert art movement, now internationally recognised as one of the most important events in Australian art history. The period 1971–72 was a critical turning point, when the ancient visual language of the Western Desert was rendered permanent on sheets of composition board and thereby transformed into a rich new art form.

This important exhibition is presented in partnership with Papunya Tula Artists, to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Papunya Tula movement and the 150th anniversary of the NGV.

Tjukurrtjanu: Origins of Western Desert Art is on display from 30 September 2011 to 12 February 2012 at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia. Open Tues­–Sun. 10am–5pm. Admission free.

Date: 12th November 2011, 10:30am – 4:30pm.

Venue: Clemenger BBDO Auditorium, NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road.

Cost: $75 Adult / $69 NGV Member / $72 Concession (includes lunch and afternoon tea, bookings essential)

Bookings and Information: Ph +61 3 8662 1555, Event Code P11246