An interview with Kate Khan about the Australian Museum’s permanent collection of 94 Papunya paintings called the Papunya Permanent Collection. These paintings were offered to the Museum by the Papunya artists’ collective in 1983 and when they were acquired by the Museum they lacked any documentation. Kate has been dedicating her time to the huge task of documenting the stories behind these paintings.

Kate has been compiling details on artworks that were painted from 1971-1973, paintings that are not part of this exhibition. She has been traveling to remote communities with photographs of artworks, to find out who the artist was and what the artworks were all about.

These early artworks were painted on bits of house boards or masonite, whatever materials the artist could find. Interestingly during this period there were few dots on these paintings but lots of cross hatching, with amazing colours like hot pink, green and softer pinks.

The Papunya community wanted these pieces to be kept all together so their families could come and see them, so they could bring their sons to show them the works. Some time ago the members from the community did view these works. Kate hopes these artworks will be on display at the museum in the near future.

Kate is also involved with Papunya Painting: Out of the Desert, an exhibition showing at the Australian Museum, from 5 July- 2 November 2008.