Sunday, 16 January 2011

yuendumu doors

One of the most significant collections of Indigenous art now held in the South Australian Museum is the former Yuendumu school doors. Yuendumu is a traditional community in the centre of Australia.
In 1983, five artists, including Paddy Japaljarri Stewart, Paddy Japaljarri Sims and Roy Jupurrurla Curtis (other artists are deceased) painted thirty school doors with Dreaming designs, negotiating the content with other Warlpiri men and women who also collectively owned the designs. Twenty-seven Dreamings (tjukurrpa) were represented on the Doors, referring to more than two hundred sites in Warlpiri and Anmatyerre territory (see
The painted Doors were intended to remind the Yuendumu schoolchildren of important and sacred sites and their obligations which extended across and to the land.
They were also a way for the elders to signify their approval of going to school, the connections between traditional knowledges and school knowledge - and they acted as a warning about the dire consequences of vandalism. They were removed in 1995 in order to safeguard them from deterioration, but also, rumour has it, from being stolen by art thieves... by the 1990s they were immensely valuable.

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