Papunya Tula: Paintings of The Dreaming: Group Show

22 June - 30 July 1988 London

Contemporary Aboriginal art has received great critical acclaim, particularly that of the Papunya Tula School, now widely regarded as one of the unique visual expressions of the 20th century. After exhibitions in Paris, Cologne and New York, these extraordinary artists are having their first comprehensive showing in Britain.


The phenomenon of the Papunya paintings first emerged only fifteen years aho from the deesolate compounds of a reservation in Australia's Central Desert. The paintings have their roots in a tradition of sand-painting which goes back many thousand of years and they use the ancient Dreamtime mythology to tell about Creation and time and nature. But they are not vestiges of a dying culture - from a background of harsh deprivation has come a beautiful, defiant and original art movement.


The acrylic paintings have distinct pointillist character and can appeal simple as sophisticated abstract works; in fact the patterns are those of the landscape with an intricate narrative contained in their signs and symbols. When a painting is finished it is sung into being and the places and stories within become alive. These paintings are a testament of beauty in the face of adversity and like the Dreamtime itself are timeless.