Artist Profile

THE MASTER FROM MARNPI

I’M SURROUNDED BY MORE THAN thirty kilograms of books about the Papunya art revolution of 1971-72, when twenty five Aboriginal artists bucked the government policy of assimilation into the ‘superior’ white civilisation by beginning to paint the stories and designs that had held their cultures together for thousands of years. Most of the tomes see the story as founded on a group dynamic, telling how the Papunya Tula artists developed from secret/sacred images on scraps of building board to canvases that introduced dotting to disguise such detail, then to a minimalism that continues today – though all but two of the original artists are now dead.

Now Alec O’Halloran has attempted the first individual biography of a Papunya Tula artist, Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri. It’s a mighty tome too

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