Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Papunya Tula movement, the exhibition « Tjukurrtjanu: Origins of Western Desert Art » was designed by the National Gallery of Victoria and features over 200 of the first paintings produced at Papunya in 1971–72 by the founding artists of the Western Desert art movement. It will tour to France at the Musée du quai Branly in Paris from October, 9th to January, 20th 2013.


“Beyond the Papunya Dot” invites ten Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian artists to present their vision of the Aboriginal art world through the exhibition of new works.

In Australia, the Papunya Story is well-known and art lovers know that the dot painting movement has developed and spread out from this small community of Central Australia. They also acknowledge that since the end of the 70’s, contemporary Aboriginal artists from all around the country have experimented many other styles, generating a very diverse and prolific art industry. The complexity of the Aboriginal art world is unlike relatively unknown in France, due to a lack of exhibitions opportunities and by the discourse of certain agents who prefer to maintain the idea of the ‘untouched and ‘Dreamtime’-based indigenous society’.

The exhibition “Beyond the Papunya Dot” will open at the same time than the Musée du quai Branly exhibition. It aims to show other aspects of the Australian art world than the well-known dot paintings and to give a voice to ten very different artists. These artists have been invited by the curator to engage with a series of questions relating to the history of Aboriginal art and to the processes of art creation and art history writing.

Contemporary Australian Indigenous artists have played a key role in the definition of Australian identity and its art history. This is why the exhibition “Beyond the Papunya Dot” includes Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists and each of them relate in a different way to the Papunya movement and its history.

The purpose of the show “Beyond the Papunya Dot” is to invite the audience to understand that there are many other stories than the ones embedded in acrylic dots from Central Desert; this non-commercial exhibition gives also a unique opportunity to Australian artists to exhibit new works overseas and to develop works-in-progress.

Regina Wilson - 'Message sticks' (detail), 2011 - 200 x 120 cm - Acrylic on canvas

Regina Wilson – ‘Message sticks’ (detail), 2011 – 200 x 120 cm – Acrylic on canvas


– Lydia BALBAL, Bidyadanga, WA
– Dacchi DANG, Sydney, NSW
– Janelle EVANS, Sydney, NSW
– Jenny FRASER, Cairns, QLD
– Injinoo artists with GhostNets Australia, QLD
– Florence GUTCHEN, Darney Island, QLD
– Tania MASON, Sydney, NSW
– Alick TIPOTI, Badu Island, QLD
– Regina Pilawuk WILSON, Peppimenarti, NT


  • Main curator
    Géraldine Le Roux is an associate researcher at TransOceanik (CNRS/James cook University) and lectures in anthropology at the University François Rabelais in Tours, France.
    Since its creation in 2008, IDAIA – International Development for Australian Indigenous Art – has been dedicated to increasing the presence and the appreciation of a quality and ethical Australian Indigenous art among international audiences, through educating, curating, sourcing and facilitating numerous exhibition and acquisition projects.


VIEW – 3D visit of the exhibition