Teaching Little Children bears artist's name, tribe, date and catalogue number TL735808 on Papunya Tula Artists label on the reverse synthetic polymer powder paint on composition board 60.5 x 40.5cm
PROVENANCE: Painted in 1973 Papunya Tula Artists, Alice Springs Private collection Sotheby's, Important Aboriginal Art, Melbourne, 24 July 2007, lot 179 Superannuation Fund of William Nuttall and Annette Reeves
Cf.Children's Story, 1972, in Geoffrey Bardon and James Bardon, Papunya, A Place Made After the Story: The Beginnings of the Western Desert Painting Movement, Melbourne: The Miegunah Press, 2004, p.485, ptg.467.
In 1971 and 1972 Geoffrey Bardon, a teacher at the Papunya school, commissioned a number of artists to make paintings specifically intended for children to see. Among the artists were Shorty Lungkata Tjungurrayi, Long Jack Phillipus Tjakamarra, Kaapa Tjampitjinpa, Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri and Tim Leura Tjapaltjarri. Bardon wanted to use the paintings as teaching aids, consequently they were to contain no sacred or secret imagery. Teaching Little Children, 1973, is similar in composition and theme to Leura's Children's Story, 1972, (see Bardon and Bardon, 2004, p.485, ptg.476) which was one of the commissioned paintings. The latter painting now forms part of the Papunya school collection at the Araluen Galleries in the Alice Springs Cultural Precinct. The central section of Teaching Little Children shows two boys (U shapes) with their spears, stone axes and boomerangs arranged symmetrically around them. They are enclosed by two windbreaks depicted as long arcs, while men's ritual camps surround them.
This painting is sold with accompanying documentation from Papunya Tula Artists with an annotated diagram that reads in part: 'From an early age children are taught about their relations and their responsibility to each category. This painting shows old men teaching the children.'