Can Aboriginal Art Be Contemporary Art?

Aboriginal Art Directory | 19.09.10

The Australian wades into a controversy over the current generation of aboriginal artists:

A paper by Melbourne academic Meaghan Wilson-Anastasios says major artists such as Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri and Rover Thomas, are promoted as Aboriginal in a way that Pablo Picasso would not be labelled Spanish.

“To secure the future of the Aboriginal art market, it needs to expand and evolve so that a new generation of artists is cultivated and they are accepted as contemporary practitioners,” she writes. “Marketing the first generation of Aboriginal desert painters as the genuine ethnographic article has the corollary effect of initiating a spiral of redundancy that makes it increasingly difficult to promote subsequent generations of Aboriginal artists.”

Some dealers disagree in the story pointing to the health of aboriginal art on the primary market. These dealers say that a new generation of Aboriginal artists are taking their place in the Contemporary art market, especially outside of Australia.


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