The Papunya Tula Art Movement began in 1971 when a schoolteacher named Geoffrey Bardon encouraged some of the men to paint a blank school wall. The murals sparked off tremendous interest in the community and soon many of the men began painting. In 1972 the artists successfully established their own company.
The company is entirely owned and directed by traditional Aboriginal people from the Western Desert, predominantly of the Luritja/Pintupi language groups. It has 49 shareholders and now represents about 120 artists.
The Papunya Tula painting style derives directly from the artists’ knowledge of traditional body and sand painting associated with ceremony. To portray these dreamtime creation stories for the public has required the removal of sacred symbols and the careful monotoring of ancestral designs.
The work of Papunya Tula artists is highly regarded. The high standard of the work and its unmistakable and powerful style has resulted in the Papunya Tula artists being represented in most public galleries, major museums, institutions and many large private collections within Australia as well as overseas.
The aim of the company is to promote individual artists, provide economic development for the communities to which they belong and assist in the maintenance of a rich cultural heritage.
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