Tjapaltjarri's art gained enormous popularity and he was ultimately awarded the Order of Australia.
In the late 1950s he was employed, along with his older brother Tim Leura Tjapaltjarri and other Aborigines, to assist in the construction of Papunya settlement. This was the last Aboriginal settlement built under the Menzies Liberal government’s racist assimilation policy. According to the government, Aborigines were not ready to live as “white Australians” and had to be re-educated. This meant removing them from tribal lands and herding them into settlements.
In 1971, Geoffrey Bardon, a young teacher, arrived at Papunya. Bardon, who later described the settlement as “an unsewered, undrained, garbage-strewn death camp in all but name,” won the respect of the older men and encouraged them to paint their ancestral stories. In contrast to Namatjira’s realistic watercolours, Bardon supplied them acrylic paint and discouraged references to Western images. This approach help give birth to the unique Papunya Tula style, which is an abstract representation of tribal myths and legends that is derived from traditional ceremonial designs.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Desert Designs is best known for reproducing the works of Australian Aboriginal artists Jimmy Pike and Doris Gingingara on neckties, but I have turned up a third one. Today's tie features a design by Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri (c.1932-2002), one of the founders of the modern Aboriginal art movement. Susan Allan provides some background on his introduction to painting in an obituary on the World Socialist Web Site: