2004, 54 Minutes
Papunya Tula art, commonly known as dot painting, is world renowned. Mr Patterns tells the story of Geoff Bardon who, together with the Papunya artists, was a catalyst for what many consider the greatest art movement of the 20th century.
Posted as an art teacher to the government settlement at Papunya in Australia’s Western Desert, Bardon found more than 1000 Aboriginal people living in a state of dislocation, their culture being systematically wiped out through assimilation. He encouraged the people to paint their traditional designs using western materials. Starting with children's classroom projects in the early 1970s, he became increasingly involved with tribal elders whose designs told stories of their ancestral Dreamings. In defiance of white authorities, Bardon also encouraged the artists to value their work commercially as well as spiritually, believing that by selling paintings the people could become independent of welfare as well as bringing Indigenous art to the attention of the wider community.
By the time Bardon left Papunya in mid 1972, the Painting Men had formed their own company and the Western Desert art movement had begun. But for Bardon, the personal cost was enormous…
A Film Australia National Interest Program in association with Reel World Productions. Developed with the assistance of the Australian Film Commission and the NSW Film and Television Office. Developed and produced with the assistance of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. © 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.
Director: Catriona McKenzie
Running Time: 55 Minutes
Classification: PG. Consumer advice: Medium level coarse language.