The Australian - A movable cultural centre

Aboriginal Art Directory | 10.12.07

An article in the Australian about the potential development of a large collection of Australian Aboriginal Art in Perth, and into the digitisation of Aboriginal Art.

Quoted from the article:

John Stanton, the director of the Berndt Museum of Anthropology, is not taken with either Dodge's or Cousins's views, which he calls "a one-stop shop Aboriginal culture centre". "I don't see having a single unitary site as the way to go," he says. "I tend to think it would be preferable to have a multiplicity of sites, a web of common interest and endeavour."

He argues that since indigenous culture is evenly spread across the nation, from Cape York to southeast Victoria, from the Kimberley to Alice Springs, so too should its great art. What's more, a major focus of Aboriginal art is already emerging at the National Gallery in Canberra, which is building 10 new galleries solely to house indigenous artefacts and paintings.

Stanton is busy trying to find a new home for the 10,000 artworks and 26,000 photographs in the Berndt collection, temporarily housed in cupboards and storerooms at the University of WA. This month the university will firm up its plans for a new building, which Stanton views less as a future tourist magnet than a cultural centre for scholarship and access to remote communities.

"The feedback I've got from many Aboriginal people is that they are not looking for a single centre but a network of shared interests," Stanton says, adding that electronic links connect the remotest places, such as Yirrkala in northeast Arnhem Land, to the Berndt collection.

"We are working with the Buku-Larnggay Mulka art centre and developing a digital search engine to interlink Yirrkala with us, the Australian National University and the Museum of Victoria," he says.


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