Papunya Painting: Time and Place

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Free exhibition

The story of the Western Desert art movement is one of the most compelling in Australian art history.

During the 1970s and early 1980s a small group of desert artists at Papunya created a body of work that transformed understandings of Aboriginal art. On vast canvases and suitcase-sized boards they experimented radically with colour and style in the telling of their Dreaming stories, creating a painting style and visual language that has been embraced worldwide and recognised as among Australia’s foremost cultural achievements.

Collections from the National Museum of Australia

The National Museum of Australia and the Western Australian Museum share an ongoing commitment to connect the many strands of Australian experience and history.

Papunya Painting: Time and Place is the second in a series of planned displays at WA Museum Boola Bardip to feature works from the National Museum of Australia's collections and share stories of significance to Western Australians.

This initiative reflects an ongoing partnership between the two institutions, with the shared aim to increase accessibility of museum collections.

Papunya highlights the National Museum of Australia’s extraordinary collection of these paintings, which it first displayed in 2008 as part of the Papunya Painting: Out of the Desert exhibition.

Provenance & Acknowledgements

The National Museum of Australia is indebted to the artists, and their descendants, whose commitment to expressing and sharing their culture has given us the opportunity to continue to appreciate their paradigm-shifting artworks.

We gratefully acknowledge Papunya Tula Artists Pty Ltd and the Film Australia Collection. We also thank the members of the Aboriginal Arts Board of the 1970s and 1980s, whose foresight and actions enabled the eventual development of the Papunya Tula collection from which these works are drawn.

The exhibition also reflects an earlier collaboration with curator Vivien Johnson.

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