Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs
16 March 2019 - 2 June 2019
The award-winning exhibition, Tjunguṉutja: from having come together, is touring to Central Australia and will be on display at the Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs, from 16 March – 2 June 2019. Following on from its inaugural presentation in June 2017 at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT), this popular exhibition presents the most significant collection of early Papunya paintings documenting the rise of Western Desert art.
Tjunguṉutja showcases over 80 early Papunya paintings from MAGNT’s collection. The exhibition includes three new acquisitions, unpublished photographs and historical ephemera, telling hitherto untold stories by members of the Western Desert Aboriginal community with personal accounts of the Papunya art movement and its origins.
Tjunguṉutja provides a unique insight into the artistic development of the progenitors of the Papunya Art Movement. The exhibition’s curatorial team included one of the founding artists of the Western Desert Art Movement, and one of the major contributing artists to this exhibition, Long Jack Phillipus Tjakamarra, alongside world-renowned artist Michael Nelson Jagamarra AM, Bobby West Tjupurrula, Joseph Jurrah Tjapaltjarri, Kumanytjayi Anderson and Luke Scholes, Curator of Aboriginal Art at MAGNT.
The opportunity to tour Tjunguṉutja: from having come together to Alice Springs was made possible thanks to funding from the Northern Territory Government.
Photo: Merinda Campbell
Tutuma Tjapangati Pintupi/Pitjantjatjara c. 1909 – 1987 Recto: Untitled (Archetypal Dreaming journey) 1971 Synthetic polymer paint on compressed fibre board 54.0 x 21.1 cm Collection of the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory Purchased with the assistance of the Australian Government through the National Cultural Heritage Account, Geoffrey Hassall AM and Giorgio Pilla 2017 (WAL 323) © the estate of the artist licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency courtesy Papunya Tula Artists.
Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri Pintupi c. 1926 – 1998 Ngintaka Tjukurrpa c. 1972 synthetic polymer paint on compressed fibre board 75.3 x 33.9 cm Collection of the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory Purchased 1978 (WAL 179) © the estate of the artist licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency courtesy Papunya Tula Artists.
Johnny Warangula Tjupurrula Pintupi/Luritja c. 1925 – 2001 Kalipinypa (Bush tucker story) 1972 synthetic polymer paint on compressed fibre board Collection of the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory 115.6 x 109.6 cm Purchased 1978 (WAL 210) © the estate of the artist licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency courtesy Papunya Tula Artists.
John Tjakamarra Pintupi c. 1937 – 2002 Ceremony 1972 synthetic polymer paint and natural pigments on compressed fibre board Collection of the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (WAL 214) © the estate of the artist licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency courtesy Papunya Tula Artists.
Charlie Tjaruru Tjungurrayi Pintupi c. 1921 – 1999 Medicine Story or Man Dreaming 1971 synthetic polymer paint on three-layer plywood 91.7 x 30.4 cm Collection of the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory Purchased 1972 (WAL 69) © the estate of the artist licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency courtesy Papunya Tula Artists.
Billy Stockman Tjapaltjarri Anmatyerr c. 1927 – 2015 Bush tucker ceremony 1972 synthetic polymer paint on compressed fibre board 76.0 x 58.3 cm Gift of the Department of the Northern Territory 1974 Collection of the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (WAL 129) © the estate of the artist licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency courtesy Papunya Tula Artists.
"A timely and nuanced reassessment of the Papunya story and one in which Indigenous voices, for the first time, play a prominent role and revise earlier mythmaking by zealous participants and by latter-day anthropologists. The pioneering efforts of Geoffrey Bardon are now placed within the broader context of the earlier Yuendumu Men’s Museum mural and the role of other Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants in these developments. This pioneering publication, based on new archival material, and the accompanying exhibition fundamentally rewrite the history of a critical episode in 20th century Australian art."
Emeritus Professor Sasha Grishin AM, FAHA,
Australian National University
Featuring full-colour images of exhibited paintings and objects, rare unpublished photographs and a series of scholarly essays, this publication is the ultimate compendium to the exhibition.
MAGNT has developed Learning Resources to provide a contextual background to Tjungunutja: from having come together for young people visiting the exhibition.
The resources are designed to assist teachers to focus on key aspects of the exhibition with students before they visit the gallery, during the exhibition, and back in the classroom.
The accompanying student activities are designed to promote student engagement with the exhibition and to enhance self-expression, self-directed learning, cooperation, social understanding and cultural awareness with a focus on Aboriginal cultural perspectives.
Thanks to Principal Donors Michael Sitzler and Terri Layman for generously supporting the development of this learning resource.
Left to right: Long Jack Phillipus Tjakamarra, Sammy Butcher, Bobby West Tjupurrula and Michael Nelson Jagamarra at Papunya, October 2015. Image: Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory
Long Jack Phillipus Tjakamarra
Long Jack Phillipus Tjakamarra was born in his mother’s country at Kalipinypa, the sacred Rain Dreaming site, north-east of where the Walungurru (Kintore) community was established. His father, Franky Tjupurrula, a Warlpiri man, came from Parikurlangu, north of Kalipinypa. In Papunya, Long Jack was a yardman at the school when a young schoolteacher, Geoffrey Bardon, arrived in 1971. Long Jack and Billy Stockman Tjapaltjarri, also a school yardman, assisted in the painting of a series of murals at the school, which included the now famous Honey Ant mural. Tjakamarra then became one of the founding artists of the Papunya art movement and four of his works were included in the first consignment of paintings brought into Alice Springs for sale in September 1971. Tjakamarra has painted regularly since the 1970s and won the Northern Territory Golden Jubilee Art Award in 1983 and the Alice Springs Art Award in 1984. A committed Christian, Tjakamarra was ordained as a Lutheran pastor in 1984.
Long Jack has been represented in many major exhibitions of Aboriginal art including: Mythscapes: Aboriginal Art of the Desert, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 1989; L’Été Australien à Montpellier, Musée Fabre, France, 1990; Aratjara: Art of the First Australians, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, Germany, 1993; Power of the Land: Masterpieces of Aboriginal Art, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 1994; Papunya Painting: Out of the Desert, National Museum of Australia, Canberra, 2007–08, and Tjukurrtjanu: Origins of Western Desert Art, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2011–12, and Musée du quai Branly, Paris, 2012–13. In 2012, Tjakamarra was engaged as a consultant by the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority to determine the suitability of the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) collection of early Papunya paintings for public display.
Michael Nelson Jagamarra AM
Michael Nelson Jagamarra was born at Pikilyi (Vaughan Springs), west of Yuendumu. His early years were spent living nomadically in the country surrounding Mount Doreen, prior to eventually settling in the small community of Hassts Bluff where he lived with Long Jack Phillipus Tjakamarra and his family. Jagamarra later moved to Yuendumu where he went to school. After he completed his schooling Jagamarra worked in a variety of jobs in the Top End, before eventually returning to live in Papunya. The year after he began painting for Papunya Tula Artists in 1983, Jagamarra won the National Aboriginal Art Award and in 1986 he was invited to exhibit at the Biennale of Sydney. His Possum and Wallaby Dreaming 1985 was chosen as the basis for the forecourt mosaic for the new Parliament House in Canberra. In 1993, Jagamarra was appointed a member of the Order of Australia for his service to art and was awarded an Australia Council Visual Arts Board Artist’s Fellowship. He is represented in many private collections around the world as well as the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Art Gallery of South Australia, the Art Gallery of Western Australia, the Queensland Art Gallery and the National Gallery of Australia. In 2012, Jagamarra was engaged as a consultant by the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority to determine the suitability of the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) collection of early Papunya Paintings for public display.
Kumanytjayi Anderson was born in Haasts Bluff in 1953. When he was a young boy he moved to Papunya where he attended school, after which he worked for the Papunya Council as a yardman. Anderson’s grandfather, Old Bert Tjakamarra, was one of the senior men in Papunya at the time the painting movement began and was instrumental in the early negotiations between Geoffrey Bardon and the painters regarding cultural protocols. Anderson has been twice elected to the MacDonnell Regional Council where he held the position of Council President. He was also a founding member of Papunya Tjupi Arts when it was first established in Papunya in 2007. Anderson is a committed father, grandfather and husband and lives at Five Mile Outstation east of Papunya. In 2012, Anderson was engaged as a consultant by the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority to determine the suitability of the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) collection of early Papunya paintings for public display.
Bobby West Tjupurrula
Born in the bush at Tjammu Tjammu, east of where the Kiwirrkura community now stands, Bobby West Tjupurrula is the son of founding Papunya artist Freddy West Tjakamarra. Tjupurrula and his extended family group migrated from their ancestral homeland to Papunya in August 1963 after encountering a Northern Territory Welfare Branch patrol. Since the passing of his father in 1994, Tjupurrula assumed the mantle as a strong leader and advocate for the Kiwirrkura community and its people. He served as Chairman of the Kiwirrkura Council for over a decade during the 1990s and has been a long-term Board member and Chairperson of Papunya Tula Artists. Tjupurrula started painting regularly in the early 1990s and has since participated in solo and group exhibitions in Australia and overseas. In August 2000, Tjupurrula participated in the formation of a large ceremonial ground painting to mark the opening of Papunya Tula: Genesis and Genius at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. He also attended the Icons of the Desert exhibition at the Herbert F Johnson Museum at Cornell University, NY, USA, in 2009. Bobby Tjupurrula has acted as a consultant on many exhibitions and projects, most notably for the National Gallery of Victoria’s Tjukurrtjanu: Origins of Western Desert Art, which opened in Melbourne in 2011 prior to travelling to the Musée du quai Branly, Paris, in 2012. In 2012, Tjupurrula was engaged as a consultant by the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority to determine the suitability of the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) collection of early Papunya paintings for public display.
Joseph Jurrah Tjapaltjarri
Joseph Jurrah Tjapaltjarri was born in the bush in 1952, not far from where the Kiwirrkura community now stands. At the age of about 10, Tjapaltjarri and his extended family group came into contact with a Northern Territory Welfare Branch patrol and were brought into the government settlement of Papunya. Following the death of his father in 1966, he was raised by his classificatory fathers, Yumpululu and Willy Tjungurrayi. Upon moving to Walungurru (Kintore) in the early 1980s, Tjapaltjarri was called upon to assist another of his classificatory fathers, Charlie Wartuma Tjungurrayi, with his paintings. Within two years of becoming an artist in his own right, in 1988 Tjapaltjarri was invited to present a solo exhibition at Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi in Melbourne. His representations of the travels of his Tingarri ancestors surrounding the country of his birth were further recognised with his inclusion in a group exhibition at John Weber Gallery, New York, in 1988. The following decade, in 1997, he accompanied Turkey Tolson Tjupurrula to Paris to create a sand painting for the exhibition Peintres Aborigènes d’Australie at the Establissement Public du Parc de la Grande Halle de la Villette. In the late 1990s his work made a significant departure from his austere geometric compositions and began to illustrate ngalyapi, the plant material used to produce bark sandals. Such foot-coverings were worn in the peak of summer to soften the task of traversing the searing hot sands of the desert interior. The long sinuous lines that appear in this series of paintings depict both the ngalyapi and the desert landscape from where it is collected. He continues to live and work in Kiwirrkura where he is recognised as an affable gentleman, equal parts boyish joker and solemn recluse.
Luke Scholes is Curator of Aboriginal Art at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. Between 2003 and 2007 he worked as a travelling field officer and later as Assistant Manager at Papunya Tula Artists. In 2008 he worked for Martumili Artists in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
During 2010–11 he was Project Officer, Indigenous Art, at the National Gallery of Victoria. Luke has contributed to many books, journals and magazines including: Beyond Sacred: Australian Aboriginal Art, the Collection of Colin and Elizabeth Laverty; Tjukurrtjanu: Origins of Western Desert Art; No Boundaries: Contemporary Australian Aboriginal Abstraction from the Debra and Dennis Scholl Collection and Art & Australia.