TJUNGUṈUTJA: from having come together

In 1971 at the Government settlement of Papunya in the Northern Territory, a group of Aboriginal men began to paint depictions of their ceremonial lives onto scraps of discarded building materials. These paintings marked the beginnings of the Western Desert art movement and are now regarded as some of Australia’s most treasured cultural, historical and artistic items.

The following year, the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory made a visionary purchase of over 100 of the most significant early examples. Throughout the 1970s dozens more historic acquisitions were added to what is now the largest and most important collection of early Papunya paintings in the world.

This startling exhibition will finally reveal a collection that has been shrouded in mystery, controversy and intrigue for over 40 years. Comprising of over 130 paintings, rare cultural artefacts and historical ephemera, Tjungungutja provides an extraordinary insight into the genesis of the contemporary Aboriginal art movement.

Curators: Long Jack Philipus Tjakamarra, Michael Nelson Tjakamarra, Sid Anderson, Bobby West Tjupurrula, Joseph Jurrah Tjapaltjarri & Luke Scholes, Curator Aboriginal Art MAGNT.

Published By: Museum & Art Gallery of NT

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