CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA.-'This exhibition shows how Papunya art acts as a mediator between the audience and the stories the paintings tell,' said Dr Michael Pickering, head of the National Museum's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Program.
'Papunya Painting: Out of the Desert explores how the significance of the works extends beyond the aesthetic to tell us about the lives, beliefs, world views, iconography and aspirations of the artists,' Dr Pickering said.
The community of Papunya is located 250km west of Alice Springs. The National Museum of Australia holds one of the most significant collections of 1970s Papunya Tula canvases in the world. The exhibition is predominantly drawn from this collection and features more than 40 canvases; many have never been publicly displayed.
Papunya community elders, artists and their families were consulted and they collaborated with the National Museum and greatly contributed to the exhibition.
It is the role of the National Museum to tell the stories that make up Australia's social history and the stories expressed through the development of the Papunya Tula art movement are particularly significant. The exhibition brings together themes of land and people through canvases of vibrant colour and illustrates the perpetuation of a living culture.
The exhibition is curated by Professor Vivien Johnson, an eminent scholar of Australian Indigenous art and an expert on the Papunya Tula movement.
Papunya Painting: Out of the Desert is on show at the National Museum of Australia through 3 February, 2008. Entry is free.