Papulankutja (Blackstone) is a remote Aboriginal Community, located at the foothills of the Blackstone Ranges within the Ngaanyatjarra Lands. It is about 900 kms west of Alice Springs, 1575 kms north east of Perth and 205kms west of Warburton.
Like many Aboriginal art centres in Central Australia, Papulankutja Artists evolved out of the Women's Centre where painting was encouraged as an activity since 2001. Papulankutja Artists was registered as an Aboriginal Corporation in 2004. This was a significant milestone as now the artists were able to govern their art centre independently. In 2009 Papulankutja Artists moved into a purpose built art centre with rooms for men and women to paint.
Papulankutja Artists is a small community-based enterprise focusing on providing a means for the Ngaanyatjarra people of Papulankutja to earn an income. The art centre facilitates visual art production in various mediums, soap making and employment for arts workers. As well as their paintings Papulankutja Artists are known for their innovative fibre work and carvings from local wood.
The organisation is managed by a member elected board of directors who are responsible for ensuring good governance and business practices are adhered to. In return for a commission on sales the art centre is responsible for marketing, generating sales, applying for grants to support additional activities and developing alternative means to earn income for our members and investing in growth. Our return to the community includes financial benefits, community wellbeing and divergence activities away from harmful abuse.
As Yarnangu custodians, the artists play a major role in maintaining culture, law, and storytelling practices which are still relevant and commonplace across the Lands. They are proud to share those traditions through painting Tjukurrpa or Dreamtime stories about their connection to country and ancestors. These stories include the well-known Seven Sisters story, Wati Kutjarra (Two magical ancestral goanna Men), and Illurrpa (the place where Kuniya, a giant female snake travelled).
The art centre also works with Mantamaru (Jameson) a community 75kms to the west, as part of the regional arts outreach program. There are now more than 100 artists at Papulankutja and Mantamaru benefitting from working under the umbrella of Papulankutja Artists.
The name Papulankutja comes from the Ngaanyatjarra word for 'stare without recognising each other' and is associated with the Tjukurrpa story of two magical ancestral goanna men who didn't recognise each other when they reached the eastern end of the Blackstone Range (Wirtapi Wara - Long Black).