Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Icons of the Desert: Early Aboriginal Paintings from Papunya

Icons of the Desert: Early Aboriginal Paintings from Papunya. "...In 1971, at Papunya, a government-established Aboriginal relief camp in the Central Australian desert, the Sydney school teacher Geoffrey Bardon provided a group of ranking Aboriginal men with the tools and the encouragement to paint. The resulting works became the first paintings ever to systematically transfer the imagery of their culture to a permanent surface.
This exhibition will be the first to focus on this founding moment, presenting some of the finest examples from the period drawn from the collection of John Wilkerson (Cornell PhD Class of 1970) and Barbara Wilkerson, never before exhibited as a group. The collection includes important works by such great names in the history of late twentieth-century Australian art as Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, Kaapa Mbitjana Tjampitjinpa, Tim Leura Tjapaltjarri, Uta Uta Tjangala, Charlie Tarawa (Tjaruru) Tjungurrayi, and Shorty Lungkarta Tjungurrayi, and many others. The exhibition's centerpiece is Johnny Warangkula Tjupurrula's staggering Water Dreaming at Kalipinypa of 1972, whose visual intricacy has been likened to a page in a medieval illumination manuscript; this work twice made Australian national headlines when it achieved world-record auction prices in 1996 and 2000."


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