Art, culture & heritage, Northern Territory, Australia

Papunya Boards collection

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Eight paintings that are among Australia’s most significant Aboriginal artworks are now on display to the public for the very first time at the Araluen Arts Centre in Alice Springs. The Papunya boards represent the very beginnings of modern Aboriginal art, but up until now have been hidden from view. The exhibition forms part of an amazing Aboriginal art trail through the NT.

An historic moment

They represent the very beginnings of the modern Aboriginal art movement and for the first time in history eight of the boards are now on public display together in Alice Springs.

The boards present some of the first and finest examples from what has become an art movement of international scope and importance. The works are the first paintings ever to systematically transfer Central Australian cultural imagery to a permanent surface.

It was in the Aboriginal settlement of Papunya, 250km west of Alice Springs, where in 1971 the Western Desert art movement was born, changing the face of Aboriginal art forever. During the first 2 years of this Movement, approximately 1000 paintings, known as the Papunya boards, were produced in the community.

The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) owns what is considered to be the single most important collection of these early Papunya boards, 226 paintings collected from 1971-1980. They have previously been restricted from public view because of fears that some depicted culturally sacred images, but now eight of the boards are available to view and enjoy.

Each of the paintings represents various aspects of life including hunting scenes, bush tucker and Dreaming places.

The eight paintings on display at the Araluen Arts Centre are the works of:

  • Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri 
  • Uta Uta Tjangala 
  • Walter Tjampitjinpa 
  • Charlie Wartuma Tjungurrayi 
  • Johnny Warangkula Tjupurrula 
  • Shorty Lungkata Tjungurrayi 
  • Long Jack Phillipus Tjakamarra 


View the Papunya boards

The eight Papunya boards are considered to be among the most significant and unique pieces in the MAGNT collection and will be on display at the Araluen Arts Centre in Alice Springs until 2014.

Araluen Arts Centre

An exhibition of reproduced works will also be on display at Ayers Rock Resort from March until 2 June 2013.

Ayers Rock Resort

A larger exhibition of the Papunya boards is currently being planned for the end of 2014 or early 2015.


Flight Centre Deal

Don't miss seeing this significant collection. To get you there Flight Centre is offering a great deal: Flights to Alice Springs + 2 nights for $599

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