Once Upon a Time in Papunya
written by Vivien Johnson
UNSW Press | ISBN 9781742230078
Paperback – 400 pages
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Astronomical auction prices in the late 1990s first drew many people's attention to the phenomenon of the early Papunya boards, the thousand small painted panels created at the remote Northern Territory Aboriginal settlement of Papunya in 1971-72. Western Desert art expert Vivien Johnson looks at the controversies that surrounded the paintings at the time of their creation - and what they mean now to the artists' descendants; the role of teacher Geoffrey Bardon; the depiction of sacred imagery, and the distant worlds of art auctions and international exhibitions. A gripping narrative work, this book is an important intervention in Australian art history.