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Punuku Tjukurpa

Opening night, Friday 23 June, from 5pm

Punuku Tjukurpa is a nationally touring exhibition comprising around 80 mainly wooden objects (punu) made by artists from Maruku Arts, an art centre based at the Aboriginal community of Mutitjulu, near Uluru in the Central Desert. Representing the work of 11 Anangu artists, the wooden objects include carvings of various animals, piti (carved bowls), tjara (shields), miru (spearthrowers), kali (boomerangs), tjutinya (clubs), and walka boards. The works are made recently as well as drawing on Maruku’s archive (dating from the mid-1980s) which also includes photography, film and signage that also features in the exhibition. The exhibition intends overall to cultivate a deeper appreciation of punu, and a deeper appreciation of its relationship to Tjukurpa (Dreaming, Law), i.e., that while some objects may be functional (as in bowls and shields), they can also express ceremonial and sacred dimensions.

Punuku Tjukurpa is curated by Steve Fox and presented in association with Maruku Arts (Maruku@Uluru). Steve Fox is an ex-Director of NCCA (then 24hr Art) and also ex-Director of Maruku Arts (1997-2006) during which time he helped to establish the careers of the exhibition’s artists. He previously curated a major exhibition of work by Maruku artists at Gallerie Handwerk, Munich (Germany).

Maruku Arts was established in 1984, initially an extension of Amata Arts and Crafts. From the outset it focused on making punu, with work initially coming from Amata, Uluru, Docker River, Wingellina, Pipalyatjara, Indulkana, Mimili, Fregon and Ernabella. Over time other communities found representation through Maruku. Today it represents around 900 Anangu artists from over 20 remote communities across the Central and Western deserts.

Punuku Tjukurpa is a Visions of Australia touring exhibition from Artback NT: Arts Development and Touring in conjunction with the Australia Council for the Arts and Northern Territory Department of Tourism & Culture.

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