Papunya or Warumpi is known for it’s talented residents; in visual arts and performing arts. Aboriginal dot painting originated in Papunya in the 1970s and is now internationally recognised as a unique style of painting to western central desert artists. While we were in Papunya, the artists opened up the doors to the front of the art centre and were busy at work outside. The colours and detail was extraordinary!
Musically, The Warumpi Band is possibly the most famous Papunya export. They wrote the song ‘My Island Home’ in the late 1980s which became a mainstream hit in the 1990s by Christine Anu. Many school students were related to members of the Warumpi Band and it was evident that the talents transcended generations.
My goodness could these students sing!!! And play drums and bass and guitar!! Such talented students! We were even able to have an instrumental jam to the song we wrote, which was all about Papunya Pride or Palya Kulilpayi in Luritja.
When we discussed what students are proud of, many beautiful sights were spoken about. We got to climb Tjupi Pulli (Honey Ant Hill) where students showed us the ancient etchings of the Tjupi Tjukurrpa (dreaming.) we got to jump off a waterfall at Alkipi waterhole, climb an incredible gorge, which is part of the MacDonnell Ranges and looks over Papunya and we even set up a drum kit in the middle of the bush where students played as part of their video we created.
Papunya is an incredibly beautiful place filled with spirit and talent!