The artists at Papunya were originally serviced by the now renown Papunya Tula Pty Ltd which commenced in 1972.
The establishment of Warumpi Arts by the Papunya Council in 1994 allowed Papunya Tula to focus on the Pintupi artists in Kintore and Kirrikurra.
The abrupt closure of Warumpi in 2004 by the Council left the Papunya artists with no representation and at the mercy of private dealers, many of whom ignored basic principles of fair trading.
In October 2005 the Papunya artists approached Professor Vivien Johnson of the College of Fine Arts (COFA), University of NSW to help them establish a ‘community-based art centre’ in Papunya for the first time.
The aim of the art centre was to be a conduit for the expertise and experience of the senior artists (already well-recognised for their involvement in the beginnings of the Central Desert art movement), to be passed onto the next generation.
The actual operation of the art centre began in October 2007 and is now temporarily located in a condemned house until the ‘old garage’ building opposite the Council offices is renovated.
This is expected to be completed in 2009.
There are now over 70 or so artists, aged 18 to 80 years.
Many of whom have never painted before coming to work at the art centre.
The artist’s ties to country are still strong, especially with the elders.
The strength and depth of the Tjukurrpa or Creation stories will be preserved by teaching their children and grandchildren through their painting..