Author(s): Vivien Johnson
Lives of the Papunya Tula Artists chronicles the beginnings of the Western Desert art movement and the phenomenal development of its founding art company over four decades. Through comprehensive and widely research biographies of more than 200 men and women the book illuminates lives balanced between first contact and international stardom, poverty and record auction prices. In the early 1970s, a small group of Western Desert 'painting men' at Papunya in Central Australia seized the opportunity to experiment with new techniques and materials, producing vibrant and innovative works that give enduring expression to their powerful tjukurrpa (Dreamings). In the years since, Papunya Tula Artists Pty Ltd has made a profound contribution to the Western Desert art movement and international contemporary art. Over 25 years in the making, Lives of the Papunya Tula Artists 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 Johson is a world authority on the history and development of the Western Desert art movement.