A Slice of Aboriginal Culture

By Stacy A. Teicher, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, July 28, 2000 | Go to article overview

A Slice of Aboriginal Culture


Stacy A. Teicher, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


Aboriginal paintings found in private collections around the world are coming home to Australia as part of a major exhibit in the Sydney 2000 Olympic Arts Festival.

"Papunya Tula: Genesis & Genius," at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW) from Aug. 18 to Nov. 12, traces the evolution of an arts movement that originated in 1971 in Papunya, a small, desert community about 250 km (about 150 miles) west of Alice Springs in Australia's Northern Territory. Papunya was a government settlement, home to Aboriginals displaced from their lands. A teacher there encouraged children to create art with traditional motifs. The older men quickly followed suit by painting their tjukurrpa (ancestral stories).

Although it would be another decade before collectors and galleries paid attention to Papunya artists, their work had a "major influence on the cultural landscape of Australia," says Hetti Perkins, curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art at AGNSW. …

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