IN 1972 the male elders of the different language groups at Papunya instigated the now-famous Papunya Tula Artists to sell and market their paintings on their behalf.
Then in the early 1990’s Papunya Tula moved its operation to Kintore and Kwiirrkurra, west of Papunya. The Warumpi Arts was established in Alice Springs by the Papunya Community Council in 1994.
The closure of Warumpi Arts in 2004 by the Council left the majority of Papunya artists with no representation and at the mercy of private dealers, many of who are considered unethical in their business practices.
In October 2005, the Papunya artists approached Professor Vivien Johnson of the College of Fine Arts at the University of NSW to help them establish, for the first time, a ‘community-based art centre’ in Papunya. The project’s future was initially uncertain, but through the commitment of the artists and community we have evolved into a ‘fully fledged’ art centre. It has steadily building the reputation of Papunya Tjupi and its artists.
Papunya is the birthplace of the celebrated Western Desert Art movement, so naturally Chapman gallery director Kristian Pithie is excited to have an exhibition of new works from that area, “a range of stunning and affordable works from artists such as Beyula Napanangka, Doris Bush Nungarrayi, Mary Roberts, Maureen Poulson, Tilau Nangala, Isobel Gorey and more.”
Papunya Tjupi: New Paintings at Chapman Gallery, 1/11 Murray Crescent Manuka until July 19. Opens Friday June 14 at 5.30pm. All welcome.