CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The University of Virginia’s Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection has published a new book about the Papunya Tula Artists' work over the last 50 years. 

The book, “Irrititja Kuwarri Tjungu | Past & Present Together," tells the story of a group of men in Australia who banded together to form their own art cooperative. The group is known for its Aboriginal art, or dot painting.

The movement began in 1971, and Henry Skerritt, Curator for the Kluge-Ruhe, said the museum wanted to do something special to commemorate the anniversary.

"There's just so many stories, so in here you hear stories about people who just really wanted to make art, wanting to make art in the face of oppression, wanting to make art in the face of displacement, but never losing sight of how powerful art can be," Skerritt said.

Skerritt co-edited the book with Fred Myers, anthropologist and Silver Professor of Anthropology at New York University. The book is being distributed by University of Virginia Press and is available in bookstores as well as at the museum.

The exhibit will be shown in two parts, showcasing works for all 50 years of Papunya Tula, from their beginnings on scraps of cardboard to more recent works on large canvases.

"In the art center Papunya Tula, it where they first, in Australia, they really first started using acrylic paints, they first started using the dot painting technique as a form of fine art, and there are so many techniques that aboriginal people use, and this is just one of them, and it really got started right in Papunya Tula, and the artwork is just incredible," said Ed Miller, Visitor Services Specialist for the Kluge-Ruhe. 

The current exhibit, part one, features art from 1971 to 1995. That exhibit will be open through Feb. 27. Part two, which features art from 1996 to the present, will open March 17, and run through Feb. 26, 2023. 

When the exhibit is complete in Charlottesville, “Irrititja Kuwarri Tjungu | Past & Present Together” will be the premier exhibition at the Embassy of Australia in Washington, D.C. in March 2023.

To learn more about the Kluge-Ruhe, click here. To visit their YouTube page with interviews from artists, click here.