Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri (c.1932-2002) was one of the truly visionary Australian artists of the twentieth century. Through the sheer power and beauty of his paintings, Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri introduced his culture to the rest of Australia and then, to the world.
This exhibition is the first touring retrospective of a Western Desert artist's work. The exhibition comprises significant paintings and sculptures by Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri. The works of art have been drawn from public collections around the nation and private collections in Australia, Europe and America, reflecting Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri's international success.
Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri was certainly one of the most innovative and accomplished Western Desert artists. This exhibition is a celebration of his 30-year career and focuses on the compelling beauty and technical brilliance of his paintings.
Born in the early 1930s at Napperby Station, north-west of Alice Springs, Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri lived and worked in his ancestral Anmatyerre country until the final decades of his life.
He was an expert wood-carver and took up painting long before the emergence of the Papunya Tula School in the early 1970s. When Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri joined this group of 'dot and circle' painters early in 1972 he immediately distinguished himself as one of its most talented members and went on to create some of the largest and most complex paintings ever produced.
Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri led a groundbreaking career and was amongst the vanguard of Indigenous Australian artists to be recognised by the international art world. Like Albert Namatjira before him, Clifford Possum blazed a trail for future generations of Indigenous artists; bridging the gap between Aboriginal art and contemporary Australian art.
Sadly, this great pioneering artist died on 21 June 2002 in Alice Springs, the day he was to be presented with a medal awarding him the Order of Australia for his services to art and to the Indigenous community.
The exhibition is curated by Dr Vivien Johnson, a highly regarded scholar of Western Desert art and personal friend of the late artist, with the assistance of the Art Gallery of South Australia.
A fully illustrated book about Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, written by Dr Vivien Johnson and published by the Art Gallery of South Australia accompanies the exhibition.
PANEL DISCUSSION AND APPRAISAL DAY: AUTHENTICITY IN WESTERN DESERT ART
Saturday 10 July 1pm - 5pm
This Friends of Yiribana NAIDOC week event confronts issues surrounding authenticity and Indigenous copyright especially relating to the work of Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, whose life and career were dramatically influenced and affected by these issues. Guests are invited to participate by bringing in their own Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, early Papunya Tula artworks and photo-documentation to be freely appraised and catalogued by members of the Clifford Possum Project.
$20 members, $25 non-members includes afternoon tea and exhibition entry.
Bookings (02) 9226 1878
• 27 May Dr Vivien Johnson Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri: the early years
• 10 June John Kean Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri at Papunya: re-collections
• 24 June Hetti Perkins Mapping Country: Art of Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri
• 8 July Brenda L Croft Supernova: the iridescent life and times of an indigenous art star
After each talk at 4pm, the 1976 BBC documentary Desert Dreamers will be screened.
From Monday 17 May, daily at 2pm and Wednesdays 7.30pm
KIDS' ART TRAIL
Explore Anmatyerre country through the artwork of Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri with the Activity Trail booklet.
ART AFTER HOURS
Celebrity talks and special Indigenous events on Wednesday evenings from 6.30pm
• 2 June Aaron Pederson, actor
• 9 June Rachael Maza, actor
• Wednesday 7 July, Sunday 11 July (NAIDOC Week films)
1pm Blood of The Condor dir. Jorge Sanjines 1969
2.30pm The Tracker dir. Rolf de Heer 2002 (also at 7.15pm Wednesday 7 July)
• 27 May, 10 & 27 June, 8 July
4pm Desert Dreamers 1976 BBC documentary
SCHOOL HOLIDAY WORKSHOPS
• 5-8 years
5-9 July (weekdays only) 10.30am-12 noon
$20 bookings essential
• 9-13 years
6 & 7 July 2-4pm
$25 bookings essential
ART ADVENTURE TOURS
• Years 7-12
Experience the art of the late Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri and listen to the stories depicted in the paintings, and experience the many creation stories of Anmatyerre country. 1 hour $66 per group of 15 or less
• Years K-6
Tuesdays-Fridays with Children's Guides
Experience the art of the late Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri and listen to the stories depicted in the paintings and experience the many creation stories of Anmatyerre country. Free.
Bookings Essential: Telephone (02) 9225 1740 Fax (02) 9221 5129 Email firstname.lastname@example.org