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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Desert Painters of Australia: Two Generations


Gagosian / Hong Kong / Art

In the 1950s, after a forced displacement to the Papunya settlement in a remote region of Australia, tribal members of the Pintupi, Luritja, Warlpiri and Anmattyerr people began collaborating on site-specific paintings. They embedded sacred iconography into abstract symbols, creating sprawling compositions—labyrinths and fields of energy that invoke ancient rituals. The works that resulted are reminiscent of sand drawing, wood carving, and body decoration, but reverberate with something more powerful. When artist Emily Kame Kngwarreye was asked to talk about her inspirations, her response was, “It’s everything.” Two generations of pioneers from the desert are on view. —E.C.

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