indigenous art

Encounters

February 11, 2016
Mask made from turtle shell plates, Mer, Torres Strait islands. Acquired by an unknown collector before 1855.

‘Civilisation’ is a concept that has changed beyond recognition over the past century. To the pioneering ethnographers of the Victorian era, tribal cultures were merely stages on the way to the civilised state. Viewed as backward, impoverished and superstitious, it was accepted that such communities would wither and die as they fell under the spell … More


Right Here Now

January 15, 2016
Jessie Pangas, 'House of Congress', 2015, synthetic polymer paint on linen, 91.5×91.5 cm. Courtesy the artist

Regional galleries: the crisis that never ends. A few weeks ago I was invited to Canberra by the Museum of Democracy at Old Parliament House to view a show called Right Here Now: A Powerful Regional Voice in our Democracy. This event, which has been put together by freelance curators, Holly Williams, Ivan Muñiz Reed … More


8th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art

November 27, 2015
PUSHPA KUMARI, India b.1969, Tsunami (2015) Purchased 2015 with funds from Rick and Carolle Wilkinson through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation

If a week is a long time in politics, three years is an eternity. At the opening of the 7th Asia Pacific Triennial in 2012, the Queensland Art Gallery was trying to forge a relationship with a new Premier who didn’t turn up for the launch; and an Arts Minister who admitted she’d never been … More


Wiradjuri Ngurambanggu & Jonathan Jones

November 6, 2015
Nicole Foreshew, Remain, 2015, Clay and iron oxide, Images copyright and courtesy the artist.

This weekend is the last opportunity to see Sculpture By the Sea. I can’t justify a full-scale review at this late stage but in its 19th year the event’s popularity shows no sign of waning. When I walked from Bondi to Tamarama one afternoon there was the usual hubbub of foreign languages, the relentless clicking … More


Din Q. Lê: Erasure, Cairns Indigenous Art Fair 2011

August 27, 2011
Dinh Q. Lê Erasure, 2011 digital video (still) Courtesy the artist and Sàn Art Independent Artist Space, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

It was astonishing to learn that in a recent opinion poll Australians rated border protection as a more important issue than health, education, transport or housing. This is one of those statistical miracles that testify to our growing sense of social paranoia and the power of political scare campaigns. The facts are well known but … More


Laverty 2, Newcastle Region Art Gallery

May 28, 2011
William Robinson, The sand ziggurat, Kingscliff (1995) 137.5 x 183.0 cm oil on canvas

All the talk this week has been about the Kaldor collection. This high-profile donation has prompted a massive operation on the belly of the Art Gallery of NSW, with architect, Andrew Andersens, playing a familiar role as the leading cosmetic surgeon of Australian museums. The makeover has transformed a dingy storage area into an elegant, … More


Tommy Watson & the politics of the indigenous art market

January 1, 2010

Yannima Tommy Watson is said to have painted his first picture in 2001, in the community of Irrunytju, twelve kilometers south-west of the tri-border, where South Australia meets Western Australia and the Northern Territory. The white man’s borders don’t mean much to the inhabitants of this remote settlement, also known as Wingellina, but it is … More


Gunybi Ganambarr

September 1, 2009

In many people’s minds there could be no art-form less open to change than bark painting. It is one of the world’s oldest living forms of artistic expression, probably dating as far back as those rock paintings done 40,000 years ago. Yet bark painting is also one of the abiding paradoxes of contemporary art, for … More


Emily Kame Kngwarreye in Osaka

February 1, 2008

“Why is it,” asks Margo Neale, “that they call Emily the impossible modernist?’” The term assumes that an elderly Aboriginal woman who spent virtually her entire life in the central desert region, had no chance of becoming acquainted with the great icons of modern art. The underlying idea is that modernism was the invention of … More