Tracking the stories of Indigenous art

Aboriginal Art Directory | 29.08.10

Storylines -- the first comprehensive assessment of Indigenous artists from urban Australia is being launched this week.

The three-year Australian Research Council project brings together biographical information about the artists on a website, completing a full picture of Aboriginal art in Australia.

The site is already being used by art historians, curators, commissioning agents and students to find out more about this group of artists, many of whom have until now have remained largely unknown. Information from Storylines forms part of another project, the Dictionary of Australian Artists Online which is being updated regularly.

“Until Storylines was established, there was a gaping hole in information about Aboriginal art,” says Tess Allas, the project’s Indigenous Research Officer, from UNSW’s College of Fine Arts (COFA).

“There was information about the artists from the Top End and the Central Desert, but there was little about those who work in other areas,” she says. “We were also able to confirm that artists from the ‘remote’ areas of Australia are more likely to be institutionally collected if they are not art-school trained, but the opposite is true anywhere away from those more remote locations.”

Allas and her assistant, Laura Fisher under the guidance of Chief Investigator, Professor Vivien Johnson travelled around the country over three years and wrote biographies of some 600 artists.

Allas hopes the information from the project will inform art history, arts policy for funding agencies, add to arts knowledge, and even change the habits of institutions and collectors.

“When you know how many thousands of artists are working across Australia, it seems ridiculous that so much of our attention is focused mainly on Indigenous artists from the ‘remote’ areas.”

When: Friday, 27th August 6pm - 8pm
Where: Mills Lecture Room, 209 RC Mills Building, Fisher Road, The University of Sydney
Guest Speaker: Lydia Miller, Executive Director, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts, Australia Council for the Arts

Media contact: Tess Allas, Associate Lecturer, COFA, 0421 287 657; Susi Hamilton, UNSW media unit, 9385 1583 or 0422 934 024

URL: http://www.unsw.edu.au/news/pad/articles/2010/aug/Indigenous_art.html


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