Part art history, part detective story, this gripping insider's
account of the Papunya art movement--which was centered around the
1,000 small, painted panels created at the remote northern
territory Aboriginal settlement of Papunya during 1971 and
1972--goes beyond a mere discussion of the astronomical auction
prices in the late 1990s that first drew many people's attention to
these pieces. Celebrating Australian art history, this study
explores the background of the artists themselves as well as
restoring the boards' historical and cultural significance as the
first inscriptions of the religious beliefs and sacred visual
language of the Western Desert peoples. It additionally looks at
the controversies that surrounded the paintings at the time of
their creation, the role of teacher Geoffrey Bardon, the depiction
of sacred imagery, what they mean to the artists' descendants, and
the distant worlds of art auctions and international
exhibitions--telling the larger story of Aboriginal art in
Australia and beyond.
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