Northern Territory Government Newsroom

Landmark Exhibition, Tjunguṉutja: from having come together, returns to Central Australia

A landmark exhibition of the most significant collection of early Papunya paintings, Tjunguṉutja: from having come together officially opens next weekend at the Araluen Arts Centre in Alice Springs.

Tjunguṉutja features over 80 early Papunya paintings, incorporating new acquisitions, unpublished photographs, historical ephemera and a large scale video projection.

The exhibition provides a unique insight into the artistic development of the Western Desert art movement, offering a more subtle and complex history of its beginnings than is commonly understood.

Tjunguṉutja: from having come together has been curated collaboratively with the Aboriginal custodians of this art movement, including one of the founding artists of the movement and a major contributing artist to this exhibition, Long Jack Phillipus Tjakamarra, alongside world-renowned artist Michael Nelson Jagamarra AM, Bobby West Tjupurrula, Joseph Jurrah Tjapaltjarri, Kumanytjayi Anderson and Luke Scholes, Curator of Aboriginal Art at MAGNT.

Visitors can join the curators, artists and artists’ families at the opening as they provide important insights into the development of the exhibition and the significance of the works selected.

Fred R. Myers, Silver Professor of Anthropology at New York University will also speak at the opening. Professor Myers has spent many years researching and writing about Western Desert painting and more generally about culture, objects and identity of Indigenous communities. 

The Tjungunutja: from having come together exhibition officially opens on Saturday 16 March, from 10:30am and runs until 2 June 2019.

Quotes from Minister for Tourism, Sport and Culture, Lauren Moss:

“The Territory’s rich art and culture is a major drawcard for national and international tourists and a key economic driver.

“The Territory Labor Government continues to invest and grow our arts and cultural industry through the $106 million Arts Trail initiative and by providing new and approved attractions for national and international visitors through our Turbocharging Tourism stimulus package.

“The exhibition provides an extraordinary insight into the genesis of the contemporary Aboriginal art movement, and it will be the first time these works have returned to Central Australia since the 1970s.

“Tjunguṉutja revisits, retells and reinforces the early Papunya painting phenomenon and the Western Desert art movement as one of the nation’s, and the world’s, most important.” 

Quotes from Acting Director of the Araluen Cultural Precinct, Mr Micheal Smith: 

“We are honoured to be presenting Tjungunutja and these significant paintings from the Western Desert art movement. 

“The exhibition tells untold stories by members of the Western Desert region with personal accounts of the Movement and its origins.

“Developed by and premiering at MAGNT in 2017, the tour of this exhibition to the Araluen Arts Centre has great significance, bringing a profoundly important group of artworks back to Central Australia.”

Media enquiries: Trish Grimshaw 0401 119 242

Attached image:

Tutuma Tjapangati, Pintupi/Pitjantjatjara c. 1909 – 1987, Recto: Untitled (Archetypal Dreaming journey) 1971, Synthetic polymer paint on compressed fibre board, 54.0 x 21.1cm. Collection of the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. © the estate of the artist licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency courtesy Papunya Tula Artists. 


Tutuma Tjapangati, Pintupi/Pitjantjatjara c. 1909 – 1987