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Aboriginal Art from the Eastern APY Lands (South Australia) tours Germany in 2014 by on Mon, 10 Mar 2014 00:44:35 +1000:From March to September 2014 ARTKELCH, the leading gallery for Contemporary Aboriginal Fine Art in Germany, presents artists from South Australia´s Eastern APY Lands in their yearly touring exhibition PRO COMMUNITY.
PRO COMMUNITY is an exhibition format developed and organized by ARTKELCH in Freiburg, Germany, that features excellent art from community based art centres in a touring exhibition in Germany. Artists from one art centre (or a small group of art centres) from one region per year are thus presented to audiences across Germany. It runs under the patronage of the Australian Embassy in Germany and is accompanied by a catalogue.
This year PRO COMMUNITY is presenting a selection of recent work from four small art centres situated in the north of South Australia. Hailed as “last frontier of desert art” Ernabella Art, Kaltjiti Arts, Mimili Maku and Iwantja Arts are currently taking the Australian Art world by storm. The exhibition will start in March at the Art Karlsruhe (13.-16.3.2014) – with its 50.000 visitors the 2rd most important art fair in Germany – and at ARTKELCH in Freiburg (22.3.-5.4.2014) and will then move on to Munich, Hamburg, Stuttgart and the beautiful Lake Constance area.
The exhibition leads the viewer directly into nganampa ngura walytja – Anangu country of spirit. Passed down orally for millenia, the songs, the dancing and the painting are so intertwined that we must assume that the artists can actually hear forms and colours and in turn, that the sacred songs themselves from the Inma (ceremonies) are converted into pictures in their work. The exhibition is a tribute to the true synesthetes in desert art, especially the tjilpi (term of respect for the old men), that do paint cultural designs that only a few people still know of.
The exhibition consists of more than 80 major works in total. Artists presented include Tjilpi Dickie Minyintiri (Telstra Art Award 2011), Pantjiti Lionel, Pepai Carroll, Carlene Thompson, Tjunkaya Tapaya, Niningka Lewis, Tjariya Stanley, Yurpiya Lionel, Alison Riley, Tjilpi Kunmanara Robin Kankapankatja, Tali Tali Pompey, Kathy Maringka, Taylor Cooper, Milatjari Pumani, Ngupulya Pumani, Betty Pumani, Tuppy Goodwin, Tjilpi Whiskey Tjukangku, Alec Baker,Peter Mungkuri und Vincent Namatjira.
It is a vibrant variety of Aboriginal desert art from the lyrical gentle to archaically raw, which ARTKELCH is thrilled to be able to bring to such a broad audience.
13.03. – 16.03.2014:
[b]art KARLSRUHE 2014[/b]
Messeallee 1, 76287 Rheinstetten
Thursday – Saturday: 12:00 – 20:00
Sunday: 11:00 – 19:00
22.03. – 05.04.2014:
Günterstalstraße 57, 79102 Freiburg
FON +49 (0)761 7 04 32 71, FAX +49 (0)761 7 04 32 72
Thursday and Friday: 09:00 – 12:30 and 14:30 – 19:30
Saturday: 10:00 – 14:00
Opening on Saturday 22.03.2014 at 10:00 am
10.04. – 18.05.2014:
[b]STAATLICHES MUSEUM FÜR VÖLKERKUNDE MÜNCHEN[/b]
Maximilianstraße 42, 80538 München
Tuesday – Sunday: 9:30 – 17:30
Opening on Wednesday 09.04.2014 at 7:00 pm
22.05. – 25.05.2014: [b]FABRIK DER KÜNSTE HAMBURG[/b]
Kreuzbrook 10 – 12, 20537 Hamburg
Friday – Sunday: 10:00 – 20:00
Opening on Thursday 22.05.2014 at 7:00 pm
01.06. – 06.06.2014:
[b]ARTKELCH COLLECTORS LOUNGE CLOSE TO STUTTGART[/b]
Wiesenstraße 33, 73614 Schorndorf
Monday – Friday: 14:00 – 19:00
Sunday: 11:00 – 16:00
Opening Sunday 01.06.2014 at 11:00 am
06.07. – 06.09.2014:
[b]DRAENERT ORANGERIE IMMENSTAAD | BODENSEE[/b]
Steigwiesen 3, 88090 Immenstaad
Monday – Friday: 10:00 – 18:00
Saturday: 10:00 – 14:00
Opening Sunday 06.07.2014 at 11:00 am
EXCITING TIMES AT MAGNT by on Sun, 09 Mar 2014 11:32:09 +1000:Two significant developments have taken place in Darwin which will hopefully begin the process of re-establishing the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (the NATSIAAs) as the pre-eminent art event in Indigenous Australia.
Probably the most important is the freeing of the Museum and Art Gallery of the NT (MAGNT) from the dead hand of departmental bureaucracy through new legislation which establishes it as a statutory authority. The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory Act passed in February and will come into force on July 1st, and should “allow MAGNT to attract more philanthropic donations and corporate sponsorship that will further enhance its exhibitions and programs through the acquisition of major art works or scientific material and items of significance to the Territory’s cultural heritage”, according to Arts Minister Matt Conlan.
Under the legislation, the MAGNT collection - which is unique in Australia in including not only art works but specimens such as stuffed crocodiles, a whole building full of boats, equipment, data and publications - will continue to be owned by the Territory. But questions are naturally being asked as to whether funding will be restored to allow MAGNT to recruit the staff who've been laid off since the current Country Liberal government came to power – conservators, photographers and curators?
Certainly, there is more money for NATSIAAs. Principal sponsors Telstra haver just upped the prize pool for artists from $60,000 to $75,000 – which includes a $10,000 bonus for the Big Telstra winner and a new prize for youth. This challenges WA as the richest Indigenous art prizes in the country.
“The introduction of the Telstra Youth Award - which will attract a $5,000 prize - marks an exciting new chapter in the NATSIAA story as we welcome the participation of young artists between the ages of 18 and 25,” said Brian O’Keefe, NT Manager for Telstra.
“This is the first time in the Awards 31 year history we’ve had a specific youth category,” Minister Conlan said. “The new Award will significantly boost the Awards’ overall entry numbers and provides a fantastic opportunity for young Indigenous artists to pursue a career in the arts. Entrants in this category may choose to use new media or other forms of art – it’s up to them. We have also extended the entry period from about 3 weeks to more than six weeks to allow artists more time to submit their entries.”
But you'd better hurry - entries close on 21 March 2014.
Prodigy at Eighty - The Miracle of Emily by on Wed, 05 Mar 2014 18:19:07 +1000:[b]Emily Kame Kngwarreye. Diversity in the Desert.[/b]
It has been said that her work “enabled the flowering of a whole new generation of Aboriginal artists”.
My first experience of Emily was at Alice Springs airport about 20 years ago. Wandering aimlessly waiting for my flight back to Sydney, suddenly, from the far end of the terminal I spotted a painting, hung high on a wall.
It drew me like the proverbial ‘across the room’ moment, the flash of lust very good art can generate. I hurried through the crowd, the painting vibrating and beckoning. “Who painted that?” says I in disbelief. “Emily Kngwarreye,” comes the reply. “Oh my God! Is it for sale?” Yes, it was for sale for $3,000.
I stood transfixed. I was in love. I knew I was looking at something that would take its place in my consciousness. I had never heard of Kngwarreye but knew that I had found something and someone the world would be hearing plenty of. I couldn’t buy it, but I sure as hell wanted to.
[i]Emily Kame Kngwarreye. Born c 1916 Alalgura NT. Painter of the Eastern Anmaryere tribe, spent most of her life at Utopia, 270km north east of Alice Springs. [/i]
Utopia, 270km north east of Alice Springs, consists of a series of pastoral outstations, originally owned by the Chalmers family and returned to Aboriginal ownership in 1976. Several family groups live there at bores. In 1994, during Emily's lifetime (Emily died in 1996), it was populated by around 900 souls: painters, batik makers, basket weavers, wood carvers and more.
The cultural importance behind the ‘idea’ of the Utopian way of life is visible in the artistic output. A staggeringly prolific and outstanding amount of work has made Aboriginal artists the talk of art aficionados and dealers everywhere. The volcanic energy of this tiny desert outpost is off the radar. Product, stemming from the particular family groupings, is now showing, to tumultuous acclaim, in galleries and private collections all over the world.
Made famous by Kngwarreye, whose work has generated great wealth for Utopia: one of her paintings sold for over a million dollars, and she has exhibited, (with other Aboriginal artists) at the Venice Biennale. This extraordinary place is a text book example of indigenous societies fostering a philosophy of health and well-being, a contentment and creativity grounded in a continuous connection to traditional customs and lifestyles of hunting and food gathering.
Profundity cannot be striven for, or wished for, or faked. It is an unaccountable and deeply hidden intelligence. Conditions, situations, prevailing attitudes may disguise, subvert or deny it. But for an artist it is the well-spring, and like water at a spring, it will come out. Many Aboriginal artists, contemporary and old, possess the spiritual power of profundity.
Emily was already old when she started painting. Once started, she was like a woman possessed. Her time was limited - her phenomenal creative machine lasting for only eight years. But during that time she produced thousands of works, many of them masterpieces.
Everything about this woman captures the imagination. For her there was patently never the ‘terror of the blank canvas’. She worked at a pace indicating urgency, time she needed to say all that she had to say. Was it all ‘said’ when she finally put down her brush in her eighties?
My friend, Greg Weight a photographer, who has taken many pictures of Emily working, described the scene to me in his particularly visual way. I could see it vividly through his eyes.
He said she worked in the mornings, then rested. Usually outside on the ground, sometimes on a verandah. She was generally with other women, some of whom were also painting. She worked without cease until midday and during that time paper or canvas would be placed in front of her by the other women. As she worked she and the women would be chanting, singing, laughing, telling stories. A quiet hum of women talking. They are not gossiping, rather they are making a theatre, a performance of the stories of their land, families, dreaming, food gathering and so on. This ceaseless communication between the group, incomprehensible to an outsider, has a magic rhythm and strangeness.
Greg and another friend who had been to Utopia played the sounds to me on tapes they had made. Listening to the women working and sharing their stories was mesmerizing. That the singing and chanting are intrinsic to the process of art making bound me to it. I could have listened forever.
Over breakfast in Hill End Greg continued talking. I am paraphrasing what he told me. He said that before they begin working you realize nothing is calculated or sketched out. There is no hesitation, plan of attack, ideas or cups of coffee while they think, because they know what they will do, they know what marks they will make because THEY, the artists EMBODY what they are painting. They do not need to layout a canvas, make graph of what will be on it – the artist starts and keeps going until it is finished and another piece of paper is spread before them.
My friend said that “watching them paint is like listening to a prayer, something mystical.”
Painting to Emily, or other Aboriginal artists does not involve staring at the canvas for inspiration, nor are there moments of appraisal, of sitting back and pondering the work as a white painter does. The images are there as if by magic. This is the great mystery of the Aboriginal creative process. More often than not, they are painting secrets, aspects of their culture known only to them.
A picture may begin with an important element from their dreaming, something secret, and over that, hiding it, is the rest of the painting. This appears to be the only part of the work which involves ‘thought’ in the accepted sense.
I feel that all Aboriginals have the potential to paint because their stories are their DNA. They do not need art school. The word ‘talent’ in the white sense, does not apply. Despite this, one can only account for Kngwarreye as beyond talent or any accepted description of a gifted artist – she is a phenomena. The sheer volume of her output speaks for itself.
Genius is a powerword denoting energy, intelligence, discipline, talent, hard work. But its spiritual dimension is what holds it apart. When we respond to great beauty it is the sacred we are responding to, the mystical. And who knows what that is? If anyone can claim genius, it was Emily Kame Kngwarreye.
Around the time of my Alice Springs experience, c1990, it came to light a friend had just bought several Kngwarreyes. He and I tried to work a ‘contra’ as Brett used to call it, involving the exchanging of a Whiteley for a Kngwarreye. This never happened, partly I think, because the relative values of an Aboriginal work, a work of Emily, and a Brett Whiteley could not be equated by mere mortals like us.
[i][b]In Greg's Own Words - the Story Behind the Images[/b]
[i]Both these images were taken at Delmore Downs which is a property owned by Don Holt. As it happened, Alhalkere, where Emily was born was on the edge of Utopia which ended up being included in the property originally surveyed by Don Holt's grandfather at a time when land grants were given to those people tenacious enough to survey and fence areas of the NT for pastoral use.
Consequently Don Holt inherited not only the land but access to much of the art produced by the talented Utopia artists, including the wonderful Emily Kame Kngwarreye.
I was preparing to go to Alice Springs airport to fly back to Sydney when Don called me to say Emily was at his station and was beginning to do some painting. I postponed the flight and headed back out to Delmore Downs.
Emily was everything I had come to expect, strong, diminutive and like a queen, she had several women with her, who all were aware of her importance as an artist. The tree under which they all sat was referred to as the 'talking tree'. It was where they camped while visiting the store at Delmore Downs where they could buy provisions and acquire un-stretched canvas and paint. They also painted there.
When I did the head shot of Emily she commented to her friend Lilly Sandover that I had only asked her if I may take a photograph, yet I was still going 'click click click'. They were laughing at this strange white man and when I explained to Lily (the interpreter) that I have to do many clicks in order to get the one I want. This explanation satisfied Emily and I was allowed to go 'click click click' until the sun went down.
The shot of Emily walking was taken after she had been to the store and she was walking back to their camp site. All the women were very welcoming. It was one of the most extraordinary afternoons of my life.[/i]
[b][u]About Greg Weight[/u]
Greg Weight is a (master) fine art photographer whose awards include the [i]Blake Prize People's Choice Award [/i]
in 2012, the inaugural [i]Australian Photographic Portrait Prize[/i]
in 2003 (Art Gallery of NSW), among others.
His work includes a series of portraits of Emily Kngwarreye, represented in [i]Utopia, Genius of Emily Kame Kngwarreye[/i]
at the National Museum of Australia (Canberra), and also in the subsequent exhibition which travelled to Osaka, Japan in 2008, documented in the film, [i]Emily in Japan [/i]
by Andrew & Harriet Pike. He also did a series of portraits of the first indigenous artist to have won the Wynne Prize in 1999, Gloria Petyarre.
Other portraiture work he is well-known for include artist like of Brett Whiteley, Lloyd Rees, John Olsen, Tim Storrier, Arthur Boyd, Garry Shead, Donald Friend and Margaret Olley whose artworks he was photographing at the time of her death in 2011.
He has had numerous solo exhibitions, and his photographic works appear in many artist-related publications including, [i]Emily Kame Kngwarreye[/i]
(Macmillan, 2000), [i]Emily Kngwarreye Paintings [/i]
(Craftsman House, 1998), [i]Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri[/i]
(Craftsman House, 1994), [i]Michael Nelson Jakagmara[/i]
(Craftsman House, 1997), [i]Lloyd Rees Drawings, Centenary Retrospective[/i]
(AGNSW, 1995), [i]Brett Whiteley Retrospective[/i]
(AGNSW, 1993), [i]Brett Whiteley[/i]
(Bay Books, 1972), [i]Russell Drysdale[/i]
(Beagle Press, 1983), along with many more.
For more information on Greg Weight or to see more of his works, please visit his website [url=http://www.gregweightphoto.com.au]http://www.gregweightphoto.com.au[/url]
SOL AND EMILY by on Wed, 05 Mar 2014 16:07:08 +1000:People have been trying to force Emily Kngwarreye's art into baskets familiar to Western art aficionados for years – Abstract Expressionism being the favourite. And then along comes Sol LeWitt, the inventor of the term 'conceptual art' – which has allowed many a lesser artist to avoid the fact that they can't paint and don't have an aesthetic bone in their body - who, after both their deaths, has gathered up the innocent Emily and given her 'conceptual' cred as well!
It's all on show at the AGNSW in Sydney – an exhibition derived from the great collection of LeWitt's work that Aussie art magus John Kaldor has accumulated, much of it simply instructions as to how to cover a wall in lines. Early, they were black and white and architectural; later colour came in and a much more organic quality...”openness of heart” is how [i]SMH [/i]
critic John McDonald describes it. Is it possible that this humanity emerged from his discovery of Kngwarreye?
For, when he was in Sydney for his Museum of Contemporary Art solo show in 1998, the AGNSW was offering an exhibition of Utopia art. “Emily's yarn or Utopia type” hit LeWitt right between the eyes, “since that is what I am doing. They are both beautiful and wonderful. I feel a great affinity for her work and have learned a lot from her work”, he told Kaldor in a fax that's also on display in Sydney. Well, it certainly wasn't the other way around since the great Aboriginal artist had been dead two years by then.
And Kaldor began buying Emily for LeWitt – also Gloria Petyarre – totalling 30 works. Carefully packed and sent to Connecticut, “We were all entranced when the first painting arrived”, LeWitt's American curator is quoted as saying. This 1995 work on paper, 'Untitled' is back in Sydney – bold and chaotic, a gestural collage of brush-strokes that are almost 3D in impact. It reminded me more of Petyarre's later [i]'Medicine Leaves'[/i]
works than quintessential Emily, and it seems incredible that LeWitt's quasi-Minimalism could find fellow feeling with it.
But, look across the gallery, and there are works from 2000 and 2001 by LeWitt that could be sophisticated Emilys.[i] 'Irregular Grid' [/i]
and [i]'Irregular Loops[/i]
' may not be a match for '[i]Awelye[/i]
' as titles, but '[i]Tangled Bands[/i]
' (owned by the fortunate Mrs Kaldor) is all Emily in style, though its opulent gold lustre isn't a colour one could imagine turning up at Soakage Bore, Utopia! “The affinities with the yam root paintings of Emily Kame Kngwarreye are unmistakeable”, declares McDonald.
AGNSW curator Natasha Bullock sums up - “His late gouaches look loose and gestural, but the systematic nature of his process remains”. So LeWitt never attempted to become an Aboriginal artist sufficient to annoy the annoying Richard Bell, who's just noticed that Del Kathryn Barton puts dots all over the background of her totally Western canvases.
But was Emily a conceptualist? For LeWitt, the idea was everything – art that was objective rather than emotional. In his key 1967 essay, [i]'Paragraphs on Conceptual Art'[/i]
, he talked of the square being “the least emotive of forms”. Not many squares in Kngwarreye! But, when you think about it, the idea – or the story – may well have been more important to her than its aesthetic representation, even though her mastery of colour was arguably a whole lot more developed than LeWitt's. And we're constantly being challenged regarding the sole authorship of Aboriginal artworks by the collaborative involvement of family or skin-affinitive parties helping to finish a painting. LeWitt knew all about collaboration – collaborators flew from Helsinki and Berlin to tackle a massive wall of scrawls over two weeks in the AGNSW.
In the light of the recent idiocy revealed by London critics when faced by Aboriginal art, it's such a joy to find a major international visual voice from the mid-20th Century empathising so instinctively with an Aboriginal master. Why have so few Aussie artists managed to do likewise, I wonder?
And did John Kaldor ever buy Emily for himself, I wonder – or was she never 'so contemporary'???
MAGNT focuses on contemporary Australian art with string theory by on Wed, 05 Mar 2014 11:15:16 +1000:An exhibition that brings together Aboriginal artists who work with expanded notions of textile and craft-based tradition will open at the Museum and Art Gallery of the NT (MAGNT) this Saturday.
MAGNT Director, Pierre Arpin said string theory: Focus on contemporary Australian art explores innovative approaches to fibre and art in a contemporary context and presents a range of artworks from sculpture to photography, painting to video.
“The exhibition features the work of over 30 artists and artist groups from all over Australia including several artists from the Northern Territory,” Mr Arpin said.
“One such work by Ramingining artist, Frances Djulibing, Yukuwa (feather string yam vine), is an intricate installation of beautifully handcrafted string made from banyan fibre, which represents a yam vine.
“Other NT artists featured in string theory are Djuwakan (DJ) 2 Marika (Nhulunbuy), Yarrenyty Arltere Artists (Alice Springs), Tjanpi Desert Weavers (NPY Lands), Jean Baptiste Apuatimi (Melville Island), Robyn Djunginy (Ramingining), Lipaki Marlaypa (Yirrkala), Dhundunga 2 Mununngurr (Yirrkala), Regina Pilawuk Wilson (Peppimenarti), and the Yirrkala Printmakers.”
The exhibition’s curator Glenn Barkley said, “string theory is a scientific principle that posits a theory of everything… it implies expansion and connection across time and space, porous and open-ended embracing diverse approaches to the idea of ‘fibre’ or craft-based disciplines.”
string theory: Focus on contemporary Australian art opens to the public on Saturday, 8 March and will continue until 13 July 2014.
There will be a curatorial floor talk with Glenn Barkley, Senior Curator Museum of Contemporary Art, at 11am Saturday, 8 March.
MAGNT is located at Bullocky Point and is open Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm and weekends and public holidays 10am – 5pm.
The exhibition is organised and toured by the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body. Tjanpi Desert Weavers’ project has been supported by Gandel Philanthropy and the Nelson Meers Foundation.