Friday, September 9, 2016

Journeying Beyond Western Time in Contemporary Aboriginal Australian Art

By Carey Dunne
Ronnie Tjampitjinpa, “Two Women Dreaming” (1990)
MASSACHUSETTS--- In 1971, at a remote government settlement in Australia’s Northern Territory called Papunya, a group of elderly Aboriginal men painted designs from ancestral creation stories onto a school wall in cheap, bright acrylics. They did so at the urging of Geoffrey Bardon, a white schoolteacher, who’d seen these designs in sand drawings and body art. They pictured tribal totems, like the Honey Ant, and other images from ancestral creation myths known as “the Dreaming.” This indigenous art, of course, had existed in various forms for most of the 40,000 years of Aboriginal life in Australia — it’s the oldest unbroken art tradition in the world. It just wasn’t visible or marketable to the contemporary Western art industry. [link]

Harvard Art Museums: "Everywhen: The Eternal Present in Indigenous Art from Australia" (Ends September 18, 2016);  32 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA; (617) 495-9400;