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365 Places: Papunya

Day 5: Papunya, Central Australia

Today, I am again reflecting on a place I would like to go – Papanya, Central Australia.

Papunya
Papunya

The image above is an aerial landscape of Papunya, created from a Google Map, which I digitally enhanced for the banner of Remote Connections.

Papunya is located around 240 kilometres from Alice Springs and has a population of just under 300 people. Garry wrote in an earlier post about the lifestyles of the Anangu people, which reminded me of my long-standing interest to go to Papunya.

It is a place that is famous for the central and western desert dot painting style characterised by the Papunya Tula Artists. On their website it says:

The Papunya Tula Art Movement began in 1971 when a school teacher, 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 men started painting. In 1972 the artists successfully established their own company.

Papunya Tula Artists is entirely owned and directed by traditional Aboriginal people from the Western Desert. The aim of the company is to promote individual artists, to provide economic development for the communities to which they belong, and assist in the maintenance of a rich cultural heritage.

When we were recently in Paris, we went to an excellent exhibition at the Australian Embassy, which featured a number of Papunya Tula Artists, making me realise the impact this style has had internationally. Papunya is a place where creativity has thrived and continues to have a significant influence on contemporary Aboriginal painting in Australia.

I understand that Papunya is a place that has its fair share of social challenges, but this fact does not lessen my fascination for this small remote community and its beautiful art.

References

Papunya – Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papunya, (accessed 23 April 2014)

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