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Lives of the Papunya Tula Artists

This book chronicles the beginnings of the Western Desert Aboriginal art movement and the development of its founding art company over the last 40 years. Along with the books of Geoffrey Bardon, it will be the key reference for Papunya Tula art for years to come. Buy your copy now from our Online Shop!

It contains comprehensive biographies of more than 200 men and women artists and is illustrated with 400 colour and 40 black and white photographs of artists and key artworks.

Over 25 years in the making, the book celebrates both the individual lives of the artists and their cooperative endeavour. It showcases the importance of what they share: family and country, significant sites, tjukurrpa and life histories.

Illustrated with numerous candid photographs and key artworks, this book charts the historical landscape of the Papunya Tula artists, revealing a collective creative achievement of rare genius.

Vivien Johnson, a professor at the University of NSW, has been travelling to Papunya, Kintore and Kiwirrkurra since the 1980s, camping out and sleeping on the floors of artists' homes while meticulously compiling her manuscript, an intimate and exhaustive account of the art and the artists that made Papunya and the Western Desert a household name. In the book she describes how over the years she checked each entry and photograph with every artist or near relative.

Journalist Nicolas Rothwell has described the book as the definitive history of the movement and commented: “One of the keenest observers of the fledgling movement was a young scholar named Vivien Johnson, who became a friend of many of the best-known artists. Today, after 15 years researching and interviewing, and three years of hard writing, Johnson has finished her guide to the lives and times of Australia's most prominent desert masters, men and women whose works change hands for scores of thousands of dollars, but whose stories have been veiled until now.”

This publication represents a landmark for IAD Press, Australia’s longest running Indigenous publisher. The book is in large hard cover format (24 by 30 cm) and has 416 pages. Below is a double-page spread from the book:

Lives of the Papunya Tula Artists sample pages 

 

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