Keepers of Place: new works from Papunya Tjupi

Presented by McCulloch & McCulloch in association with Papun

For 45 years, the name Papunya – a small community 240 kilometres north west of Alice Springs – has been synonymous with contemporary Indigenous art.

Art Exhibition previously on at fortyfivedownstairs in Victoria, Australia.
From Tuesday 24 May 2011 to Saturday 04 June 2011

Keepers of Place: new works from Papunya Tjupi image

Published by Fortyfivedownstairs on Thursday 14 April 2016.
Contact the publisher.

For 45 years, the name Papunya – a small community 240 kilometres north west of Alice Springs – has been synonymous with contemporary Indigenous art.

However for several decades after its 1970s inception, with the advent of the homelands movement and exodus by a number of Papunya’s most well known early artists to their traditional lands, painting at Papunya itself was sporadic.

In 2005 senior artists Long Jack Phillipus and Michael Jagamara Nelson asked Professor Vivien Johnson, long time Papunya scholar to work with them to establish a formally constituted Aboriginal-owned art centre at the community. In 2006 Papunya Tjupi Arts, named after the important Honey Ant Hills creation site, was established.

Predominant in this new school are works by women artists – a number of whom are the children, grandchildren, widows and other relatives of some of the Western Desert’s most famous artists. Many worked with these artists in their latter years and have inherited the rights to paint their stories.

Now nine years into their sustained painting practice, the work of Papunya Tjupi artists is reaching a new level of accomplishment.

In their graphic intensity the paintings of Martha McDonald Napaltjarri reflect a similar quality to those of her famous father, Shorty Lungkata Tjungurrayi.

Candy Nelson Nakamarra’s intricate designs and striking colour sense are entirely her own, yet also pay homage to the early work of her father, the famed Johnny Warangkula Tjupurrula whose Kalipinypa (Water Dreaming) site she paints.

The region’s most senior cultural woman Tilau Nangala’s paintings are at one lyrical and expressive while the young Mary Robert Nakamarra’s work dazzles in finely wrought fluid monochromes and intricate design.

The paintings of these and six other artists in Keepers of Place: new works from Papunya Tjupi are an inspirational story of artistic regeneration ­– reminiscent of the early days of Papunya painting itself and of a tradition both utterly contemporary and entirely ancient.