Papunya artists & their legacy: RMIT Gallery talk Thursday 26 May 1-2 pm

John Kean at RMIT Gallery’s Streets of Papunya exhibition, in front of “Artist’s Country, 1979” by Johnny Warangkula Tjupurrula.

Join us on Thursday 26 May 1-2 pm at RMIT Gallery’s Streets of Papunya exhibition when John Kean (above) talks about the original Papunya artists and their legacy.

An independent producer, curator, and writer, John has published extensively on Indigenous art and has an enduring relationship with Western Desert artists having worked as adviser to Papunya Tula Artists (1977-79) and interim administrator for Pintupi Homelands Health Service (1984-85). He will share observations derived from working and writing about this renowned location.

The magic of Papunya art touched The Age arts reviewer Robert Nelson, who called the RMIT Gallery exhibition’ beautiful’ and praised the ‘spellbinding works’. Read more.

Forty-five years ago Kaapa Tjampitjinpa and Tim Leura Tjapaltjarri, Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri and Johnny Warangula Tjupurrula were central to the formulation of contemporary desert art. Standing out among an exceptional cohort, they deployed their inherited iconography while exploring poetic possibilities offered by paint on canvas.

Artistic dynasties are very important in Papunya. Artist Isobel Major Nampitjinpa visited RMIT Gallery while in Melbourne yesterday for the opening of Keepers of Place (new works by Papunya Tjupi artists) at Fortyfivedownstairs & posed at RMIT Gallery with her exquisite painting Tali which hangs alongside paintings by both her father and mother.

Family dynasty: Isobel Major Nampitjinpa at the Streets of Papunya exhibition at RMIT Gallery. She stands in the middle of three family works – (left) her mother Punata Stockman Nungarrayi’s painting ‘Ilpitirri (Mt Denison)’, 2015, (middle) her father (Billy) Kumuntjayai Stockman Tjapaltjarri’s’ Untitled (Ngatitjirri Dreaming at Ilpitirri)’, 1975, and her own work (right) ‘Tali (Sandhill)’, 2011.

Exhibition curator Vivien Johnson explains, “There’s an elaborate genealogy “family tree” in the exhibition that connects each of the artists exhibiting with Papunya Tjupi with their fathers or grandfathers who were amongst the founders of the desert art movement in Papunya.

“Being realistic it obviously has something to do with the fact that’s there’s not many other paying occupations available in these places. But at the same time it also has to do with why people paint with the cultural, the social, all these dimensions of art that are really important as part of the role it plays in those communities.

“So dynasties are comparatively common in desert art as the years go by and Papunya being the birth place is the perfect place to observe this phenomenon and it is quite remarkable.”

Papunya Family Tree: Opening night, Streets of Papunya at RMIT Gallery. Photo: Vicki Jones Photography, 2016.

What: John Kean talk on Papunya artists and legacy

When: Thursday 26 May

Time: 1-2 pm

Where: RMIT Gallery, 344 Swanston Street, Melbourne.

Bookings: (free event) click to book




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s