Indigenous revelations

Aboriginal Art Directory | 28.10.10

At first glance it's hard to see how Destiny Deacon shares any common ground with the artists of Papunya Tula or with Ricky Maynard or Judy Watson.

But Hetti Perkins, the writer and narrator of the three-part ABC1 documentary art + soul, said each of these indigenous artists had common experiences and approaches to their art.

There are almost intangible connections," she said. "It's something the series tends to look at: the world of ideas and imagination and how they connect artists."

The TV series begins on October 7 and the accompanying exhibition of indigenous artists at the Art Gallery of NSW opens on Saturday. They were not meant to be comprehensive, Perkins said, but "an intimate experience of people I knew and places I knew".

But it was still a revelation for Perkins, the gallery's head curator of indigenous art.

"No matter how many times you go to Destiny's lounge room, Judy Watson's studio, Bobby West's country, you see another new thing," she said. "That sort of potential for infinite revelation is borne out in the artworks."

Revelations of a different kind occurred at Chalk Horse gallery in Surry Hills on Thursday at the opening of Christian Thompson's Heat, a series of videos and stills featuring Perkins's daughters Madeleine, Thea and Lille, and shot by their brother Tyson.

Perkins attended the opening with Tyson, Madeleine and Lille, and said "they were stoked".

"Christian is a mate of ours. He stays with us when he comes to Sydney," she said. "My children adore him. They find it fun when he tests his crazy ideas on them and play dress-ups.

"For them, it was a thrill to see the work."


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