THE Supercars Championship field represents a rolling art gallery at the 2022 Darwin Triple Crown as the event takes on an Indigenous Round theme for the first time.
Supercars teams have partnered with a range of indigenous artists to create special liveries, revealed alongside detailed explanations of their individual meanings in recent weeks.
V8 Sleuth readers will recall previous one-off designs run at Hidden Valley, but did you know about the Group A BMW M3 that took on indigenous artwork back in 1989?
The car in question was built in Australia by JPS Team BMW in 1987 and served as one of the Frank Gardner-run squad’s cars during that season.
It was among the M3s passed onto Peter Brock’s Mobil 1 Racing for 1988, but not used until the team expanded to a third car for Neil Crompton midway through the year.
In 1989 BMW selected this M3 Group A to become the seventh in its series of ‘Art Cars’ and had it painted by renowned indigenous artist Kumantje Jagamara.
The concept of having an artist decorate a contemporary BMW started in 1975 when French racer Hervé Poulain had his 3.0 CSL styled by American sculptor Alexander Calder for the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Many of the Art Cars, including the famous M1 painted by Andy Warhol in 1979, raced in their eye-catching colours, but Kumantje Jagamara’s was among those commissioned for display.
In contrast to the way modern Supercars are ‘wrapped’ in a matter of hours using large sheets of vinyl, Kumantje Jagamara spent seven days hand-painting his masterpiece directly onto the car.
The technique employed by Kumantje Jagamara is known as Papunya art, named after the area northwest of Alice Springs from where it originated, or more colloquially ‘dot painting’.
“The car is a landscape as if viewed from an airplane – I have included water, the kangaroo and the possum,” Kumantje Jagamara explained at the time.
Kumantje Jagamara died in 2020 but his many artworks live on in various galleries around the world.
His most famous work, a 196-square metre mosaic titled Possum and Wallaby Dreaming, sits in the forecourt of Parliament House in Canberra and is reproduced on the Australian $5 note.
The M3 remains part of the BMW Art Car Collection retained by the manufacturer. A total of 19 works have been completed to date; the most recent a M6 GT3 in 2017.
A second ex-JPS Team BMW/Mobil 1 Racing M3 is also among the collection, painted in 1989 by Sydney-born artist Ken Done.