Tanami Desert Artists – Yuendumu & Nyirripi
Warlpiri artists from Yuendumu were amongst the first communities to take up the desert art movement that spread from Papunya. In fact the senior men of the community established a Museum for the cultural artefacts in 1971, at a similar time when the Papunya artists began to record the first stories painted on murals and then on boards. The Yuendumu Men’s Museum contained sand paintings and murals and was seen as a safe house for important cultural material.
Later around 1983 the senior men painted a series of Jukurrpa or Dreaming stories onto thirty doors in the community school. The artists included reknowned artists Paddy Japaljarri Sims and Paddy Japaljarri Stewart. The recording of the images and stories were important cultural statements created by the elders to reinforce the values of traditional Warlpiri heritage. Later in 1995 twelve of these doors were acquired by the South Australian Museum to be restored and exhibited as a record of the intentions and commitment of these senior Yuendumu artists.
The stories of the Warlpiri Jukurrpa traditions have remained strong and artists of the community have continued to paint and record the traditions of their ancestors. Artists from the smaller outlying community of Nyirripi have joined with Yuendumu artists and from 2010 they have brought a new and fresh layer of storytelling to the great Warlpiri stories that they share with their neighbours.
The exhibition Tanami Desert Artists will be on view at Japingka Gallery from 10 February to 29 March 2017. Presented in association with Warlukurlangu Artists.