Behind the scenes of Punuku Tjukurpa

Image: Jorna Newberry, mimpu. Muur-muurpa: Bloodwood. 310x300x340mm. c.2000.

An exhibition of national significance, the time has come to prepare for the opening and touring of artwork from the Maruku Arts archive, based at Mutitjulu near Uluru in the Northern Territory. Punuku Tjukurpa opens at the South Australian Museum in Adelaide in March 2015 and will tour to 13 regional and metropolitan venues across five states and two territories. It is the first touring exhibition of works from Maruku Arts and offers a privileged, unique insight into one of Australia’s finest art movements and a pathway into a culture rarely seen.

Artback NT’s Visual Arts Touring Manager, Neridah Stockley and Steve Anderson, a man with an extremely diverse skill set, have began the task of building and consolidating Punuku Tjukurpa‘s exhibition ‘furniture’. This entails the creation of presentation and installation systems, such as support structures, brackets and panels for exhibition objects and works.

Artworks in Punuku Tjukurpa have been selected from the Maruku archive, a collection of over 400 works set up in 1984. However, many of the works in this collection are far older than the collection itself, and artist’s names were not always recorded. The photo of the collection of spearthrowers (first image on second row) were made by several artists, and the work second from left is by the late artist, and founder of Maruku, Walter Pukutiwara. Sadly we do not have the artists names or date of production listed for these exquisite works.

Like constructing and deconstructing a puzzle, Neridah has strategised the best way to pack objects and support pieces into boxes, breaking down packing and storing information into manuals for each venue. It’s essential these works are stored and packaged safely to avoid being damaged or compromised as these boxes will be on the road for three years worth of touring around the country!

Alice Buscombe, also a Visual Arts Manager at Artback NT, has been photographing different elements of Punuku Tjukurpa and you can see more behind-the-scenes action on our Facebook page.

For more information on Punuku Tjukurpa, please visit the exhibition page.