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Papunya paintings prove popular with visitors

8 FEBRUARY 2008

Almost 50,000 people visited Papunya Painting: Out of the Desert, an exhibition that showcased a collection of colourful canvases from the early days of the Papunya Tula art movement, at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra.

"Papunya Painting was one of the most popular exhibitions developed and presented by the National Museum of Australia and we are exploring the possibility of taking the exhibition to even broader audiences overseas," said Craddock Morton, Director of the National Museum of Australia.

The exhibition presented the work of Aboriginal artists and their supporters from the forgotten chapter of the Papunya Tula art movement, between 1974 and 1981, revealing the perpetuation of a living culture and the people behind the stories. Consultation and collaboration with Papunya community elders and artists greatly contributed to the exhibition which was predominantly drawn from the National Museum of Australia's collection.

Papunya Painting was popular with visitors of all ages. Adults were mesmerised by the large-scale canvases while children enjoyed solving the clues and learning about the paintings along the Papunya honey ant trail. Another element that families particularly enjoyed was the Tjitji gathering place, a space inside the exhibition where children were encouraged to use selected painting icons to create their own journey stories. The exhibition was supported by a range of well-attended public programs including art workshops run by artists from Papunya.

The exhibition was on display at the National Museum of Australia from 28 November 2007 until 3 February 2008.

For more information about Papunya Painting: Out of the Desert visit www.nma.gov.au/exhibitions

For interviews, images and more information please contact Caroline Vero on 02 6208 5338, 0438 620 710 or media@nma.gov.au