The celebrations surrounding the fortieth anniversary of the founding of Papunya Tula Artists continue this week on the American side of the Big Pond. Harvey Art Projects, based in Sun Valley, Idaho, and led by Julie Harvey, an Aussie national who has been working from the American West for several years now, will be opening the latest in its series of first-class commercial art exhibitions from Australia.
Harvey’s first major show in the USA took place in New York City in 2009, when she helped present the Papunya Tula show Nganana Tjungurringanyi Tjukurrpa Nintintjakitja that was held at New York University’s 80WSE Gallery in conjunction with the opening just down the block of Icons of the Western Desert. Since then she has mounted a string of superb exhibitions featuring more work from Papunya Tula Artists, the Yulparija artists of Bidyadnaga, and most recently, a beautiful holiday exhibition from the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre in Yirrkala. Non-indigenous work has included photography of the Kimberley by Paul Exline and paintings by Centralian veteran Marina Strocchi, who founded the women’s painting centre at Ikuntji in the mid-90s and has also worked as a field officer for PTA.
As with many of the special events that Papunya Tula has arranged and hosted over the last decade, the fortieth anniversary exhibition in Sun Valley will be more than just an opportunity to purchase superb new work. Proceeds from the exhibition and from the February 16th opening-night cocktail party and silent auction at which Paul Sweeney will preside will help “to support the needs of an aging community with the goal of catering for specific medical needs and improving the quality of life for artists.”
As we might infer from the extraordinary new painting by Kawayi Nampitjinpa that is being used to advertise the event, the quality of the work coming to America should be absolutely top-notch. Kawayi was one of the stars of the weekend surrounding the 28th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards last August: her painting in the exhibition itself may have been the strongest single work I’ve seen of hers (until now), although there was plenty of competition for the top spot in her first solo show held at CCAE at the same time.
The full catalog for the new show should be online within a week, so keep your eye on the Harvey Art Projects website for the chance to support the artists of PTA and acquire a first-class work of art in America at prices you would expect to pay in Australia.