This website was developed for the exhibition Irriṯitja Kuwarri Tjungu | Past & Present Together: Fifty Years of Papunya Tula Artists that was on view at the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia from 2021-23 and the Embassy of Australia in Washington, DC in 2024. It was made possible by our creative partnership with Papunya Tula Artists and the generous support of UVA Arts Council. Site design by Urban Fugitive for V21 Artspace.

Resources and More


In collaboration with the Art Gallery of South Australia, Kluge-Ruhe has developed two lesson plans to accompany this online gallery, designed to be scaled for pre-K, elementary, middle school and high school level classrooms.
PAPUNYA TULA LESSON PLAN 1: Family Stories, Patterns and Experimentation
[pdf download]

This lesson explores themes of dotting, symbolism, story-telling, map-making, art materials and more, looking in a focused way at two paintings from Papunya Tula Artists.
PAPUNYA TULA LESSON PLAN 2: Aerial Perspective, Connection to Place and Innovation
[pdf download]

This lesson explores themes around map-making, aerial perspective, connecting to place, environmental sustainability, symbolism, types of knowledge and more, looking in a focused way at two paintings from Papunya Tula Artists.
We recommend you pay very close attention to these lesson plans and do not divert from the general themes. Many teachers across the United States and the world are creating or adapting lesson plans around artwork from this movement in a way that is culturally appropriative, insensitive and offensive. It’s very easy to move from encouraging your students to be inspired by themes and techniques to lessons that encourage copying symbols and perpetuating stereotypes. We’ve designed these lesson plans to help avoid this.

We recommend that you also consult our Aboriginal Art 101 page for a list of FAQs about Aboriginal art generally and our Cultural Appropriation 101 page for more information on remaining respectful. If you want more specific thoughts on your approach or lesson, please contact us at kluge-ruhe@virginia.edu.

A note for teachers in Australia: It can be easy to use a resource like this rather than seeking partnerships and collaboration with your local Indigenous group and exploring the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art in your classroom, which is what we would recommend. We highly suggest you purchase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art in the Classroom to inform your teaching.


Irrititja Kuwarri Tjungu | Past & Present Together: Fifty Years of Papunya Tulan Artists is an exhibition curated by Henry Skerritt, Curator of the Arts of Indigenous Australia at the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia, for its gallery spaces in Charlottesville, Virginia from 2021-2023. The Embassy of Australia in Washington, DC will open the exhibition in its newly built embassy beginning in 2024.


Kluge-Ruhe published a fully illustrated catalog in combination with this resource and the exhibition. Edited by Fred Myers and Henry Skerritt and distributed by the University of Virginia Press, it includes contributions by John Kean, Steve Martin, Elizabeth Marks Nakamarra, Narlie Nelson Nakamarra, Eileen Napaltjarri, Charlotte Phillipus Napurrula, Punata Stockman Nungurrayi, Rachel Paltridge, Hetti Perkins, Cara Pinchbeck, Margo Smith, Marina Strocchi, Paul Sweeney, Morris Jackson Tjampitjinpa, Joseph Jurra Tjapaltjarri, Bobby West Tjupurrula and Jodie Napurrula Ward. It is priced at $29.95 USD.

Click here to purchase the catalog


We are grateful to Paul Sweeney and Papunya Tula Artists for being a partner and collaborator on this project, and to UVA Arts Council for funding this online resource.

The exhibition Irrititja Kuwarri Tjungu (Past & Present Together) is sponsored by the Robert and Molly Hardie and the H7 Foundation, The Gordon Darling Foundation, Australian Cultural Fund, Stephen and Agatha Luczo, the Embassy of Australia, the Australian Consulate-General, New York, the UVA Parents Fund, the UVA Institute of Humanities and Global Cultures, the UVA Mapping Indigenous Worlds Lab, and the UVA Department of Art.


To purchase artwork from Papunya Tula Artists, visit their website.
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