“I am the old and the new”

Posted by Jeremy Eccles | 22.06.18

What a marvellously biblical statement by the senior Western Arnhemland artist, John Mawurndjul. He made it boldly in accepting this year's prestigious male Red Ochre Award at the Sydney Opera House in May. And the once-shaggy bushman, who lives 50 km from the township of Maningrida on his own Milmilngkan outstation, hunting, caring for his Country and painting, had a new confidence in his hand-in-pocket stance, neatly trimmed hair and beard. Perhaps the changes were in response to this important recognition by his peers. But the biblical quote is also the title of his second institutional solo show – the first was at the Museum Tinguely in Basel in 2005 – at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. This is co-curated with the Art Gallery of South Australia, and after Adelaide, a slightly reduced version of the 165-work show will tour Australia until the end of 2020. It's also co-curated with the artist himself. Having witnessed his magnificent 2005 speech – entirely in his native Kunwinjku, though it seemed completely comprehensible – when he was announced as one of the eight Aboriginal artists to decorate the new Musee du Quai Branly in Paris, I'd have no doubts about his capacity to do almost anything he set his mind to. But MCA curator, Clothilde Bullen confirmed his keenness in the curation process: “He's just so charismatic and knew precisely which of his babies were important and which less important. 'This one such a good one', he'd announce. And our exhibition will be fully bilingual, thanks to the heroic efforts of translator, Murray Garde. “We'll be looking at 35 years of Mawurndjul's practice”, Bullen continued; “noting the shifts across that time. He studied the ancients like Yirawala and Midjawmidjaw but was taught to paint by his uncle Peter Marralwanga and elder» Read More

 

SAMUEL NAMUNJDJA

SAMUEL NAMUNJDJA

Posted by Jeremy Eccles | 19.06.18

It's reported from Maningrida that the great Kuninjku bark artist, Samuel Namunjdja died in early May. He was only 54 and leaves a substantial family on his Mankorlod outstation, some 50km from the Western Arnhemland township. I had the pleasure...» Read More

 

DARK EMU

DARK EMU

Posted by Jeremy Eccles | 15.06.18

Bruce Pascoe's important 2014 book has been turned into performance by the only company that could possibly have attempted it – Bangarra Dance Theatre. In case you haven't caught up with the book (which you really should), The Conversation website...» Read More

 

WIK v TAREE

WIK v TAREE

Posted by Jeremy Eccles | 14.06.18

Two documentary films on significant Indigenous subjects came early in this year's Sydney Film Festival – which has such an honourable tradition of celebrating First Nations creativity. But what a gulf between the two. The first was an encyclopedic history...» Read More

 

WARS & MASSACRES

WARS & MASSACRES

Posted by Jeremy Eccles | 08.06.18

The ever-over-wrought Alan Jones was launching a book about political correctness the other day and was quoted as saying that “primary school children today know more about the 'fictitious' Welcome to Country than they do about Burke and Wills (who...» Read More

 

NY “Goes Ballistic” over Aboriginal Art

NY “Goes Ballistic” over Aboriginal Art

Posted by Jeremy Eccles | 03.06.18

You may recall that the Aboriginal art world got mightily upset in April when it appeared that the incredibly famous English artist Damien Hirst had 'borrowed' more than few visual ideas from the artists of Central Australia who had developed...» Read More

 

THE PLAY'S THE THING.....

THE PLAY'S THE THING.....

Posted by Jeremy Eccles | 30.05.18

As Hamlet noted, a play can play a significant role in stimulating the conscience – even one that may or may not be possessed by a king. So the month of June in Sydney (elsewhere later) seems to have been...» Read More

 

Red Ochre Time Again

Red Ochre Time Again

Posted by Jeremy Eccles | 25.05.18

The Australia Council for the Arts is set to celebrate four remarkable artists at the 11th National Indigenous Arts Awards taking place at the Sydney Opera House this weekend. The National Indigenous Arts Awards (NIAAs) recognise the significant contribution of...» Read More

 

Current Exhibitions


Industry Corner: Exhibition

“I am the old and the new”

Posted by Jeremy Eccles | 22.06.18

What a marvellously biblical statement by the senior Western Arnhemland artist, John Mawurndjul. He made it boldly in accepting this year's prestigious male Red Ochre Award at the Sydney Opera House in May. And the once-shaggy bushman, who lives 50...» Read More

Industry Corner: Exhibition

NY “Goes Ballistic” over Aboriginal Art

Posted by Jeremy Eccles | 03.06.18

You may recall that the Aboriginal art world got mightily upset in April when it appeared that the incredibly famous English artist Damien Hirst had 'borrowed' more than few visual ideas from the artists of Central Australia who had developed...» Read More

Events: Event

The Late Mary Macha

Posted by Jeremy Eccles | 02.11.17

Somehow, the Aboriginal Art Directory failed to report the death in March of a woman of great importance in the development of Aboriginal art – Mary Macha. She grew from a West Australian job in the State's Native Welfare Department...» Read More

Events: Event

Art for the Environment

Posted by Aboriginal Art Directory | 14.06.17

The Environmental Defenders Office of the Northern Territory (EDO NT) is again holding an online Aboriginal art auction to raise funds for its important work (advising and acting for individuals, traditional owners, community groups and conservation groups seeking to protect...» Read More

 

 


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