President’s Report

Mick Wallangkarri Tjakamarra
Water Dreaming with Bushtucker 1972
acrylic on board 65 x 45.5cm

Dear Members & Friends,

It was with pleasure and a sense of pride to see two particular Papunya Tula art works on display as part of the exhibition ”Unique Perspective – Papunya Tula Artists And The Alice Springs Community” that opened at Araluen Arts Centre on Saturday 17th November. These two paintings form part of the Alice Springs Town Council collection (link) and were donated by the Central Australian Art Society from the original Caltex/NT Art Award. Of most significance is that they are two of the very first Western Desert art movement paintings where a group of Aboriginal people, for the first time, painted on permanent materials in the settlement of Papunya in the early 1970’s.  (link)  As the curator Steven Williamson explains in the catalogue:

“Kaapa Tjampitjinpa (link) was awarded joint first prize in the inaugural Caltex Art Award in 1971 and the next year Mick Wallagkarri Tjakamarra (link) followed suit, winning the 1972 Caltex Art Award (link) with his painting, Water Dreaming with Bushtucker. In 1973 Tim Leura Tjapaltjarri’s Untitled (link) was acquired from the Caltex Art Award. Both Tjakamarra’s and Tjapaitjarri’s works are included in this exhibition.”

Tim Leura Tjapaltjarri
Untitled 1973
acrylic on hardboard
86 x 55cm

To realise that some 40 odd years ago, CAAS members were very actively engaged in the Central Australian art movement (and in particular the development of the Papunya Tula Art movement) makes me even more determined to see the society continue on with the good work that they started.  As Paul Sweeney notes in the catalogue:

“The recognition bestowed upon Tjampitjinpa as the first Australian Aboriginal Artist to ever win an art award not only heralded the arrival of the Western Desert art movement, but, on a more local level, signalled the beginnings of a romance between town’s residents and painters of the Western Desert.”

The energy and foresight of those early CAAS members and exhibition judges needs to be applauded and indeed they have become an inspiration to us all today.

Make a point of getting along to the Araluen Arts Centre to view this exhibition – it is truly a great insight into the Papunya Tula art movement and the way in which the local community have engaged in their art.

On more practical matters, while things have become a little quiet on the art activity side of things, a great deal of work has been taking place behind the scenes to bring the CAAS Shed and surrounding grounds up to certification level required by both the Alice Springs Town Council and the NT Government authorities. Issues such as the renewal of the Lease, the development of a storm-water drainage system, formal car parking arrangements, a disability car park, the upgrade of the driveway entrance and the installation of a sewage inspection outlet all need to be addressed. You will be pleased to know that things are moving along fairly smoothly in all aspects of these concerns and I expect to be able to report good progress in the near future.

At this time of year many of us tend to be looking forward to the Christmas break and catching up with family and friends and so it becomes difficult to involve ourselves in new art activities. The CAAS committee therefore will concentrate on the immediate tasks at hand rather than taking on any new commitments during what is left of this year. However, we will be looking forward to the new-year which will hopefully bring new energy and new ideas and more engagement with members.

The November meeting is the last committee meeting for 2012 and I wish to take this opportunity to wish you all the very best for the Festive Season.  We hope to see many members for a social drink on Wednesday 12th December. Emails have been sent to you.

In the meantime kind regards and enjoy your art.

Ron Talbot,
CAAS President

Images reproduced by permission of both Papunya Tula Artists and Araluen Arts Centre. Thanks to Paul Sweeney and Nathan King.

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