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Aboriginal Art News

Aboriginal Art News is a free news resource to promote and encourage education of Australian Aboriginal art.

Submitted: Apr 10, 2010 - 7:10 PM
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  • The Wonderful World of Wayne Quilliam by on Thu, 23 Jul 2015 15:44:42 +1000:
    Wayne Quilliam is described as one of Australia’s pre-eminent Indigenous photographic artists, curators and cultural advisors working on the international scene. But to be a little more specific, he has won a Walkley Award, been named a NAIDOC Artist of the Year and has also won the Human Rights Media Award for his exhibition, [i]The Apology[/i]
    . And he has also been nominated as a Master of Photography by National Geographic.

    Just recently he returned from Geneva where his solo exhibition, [i]Her Image, Her Voice, Her Story[/i]
    , was launched at the new United Nations building. This exhibition, which showcased the real-life achievements, experiences and challenges faced by Australian Indigenous women, was interactive so audiences were able to view the beautiful images and connect to interviews to hear the personal stories of those women – told in their own words.

    Closer to home, Wayne Quilliam's photographic work was recently featured at Federation Square; in the Atrium it appeared in the form of 3 metre high banners, celebrating the role of Indigenous people in the public sector, there was also an exhibition of his works on the same theme. And his photographs also formed part of the Gertrude St Projection Festival, and were projected onto a city building elsewhere in Melbourne too.

    But if you haven't had the chance to see his works in person as yet, head along to Kingston Arts in Melbourne where his photographs on the 2015 NAIDOC theme, [i]We all Stand on Sacred Ground: Learn, Respect and Celebrate[/i]
    , are still on show. Hurry though, this exhibition closes soon, on Tuesday, 4 August.

    The [url=http://www.kingstonarts.com.au/PUBLIC-PROGRAMS/NAIDOC2015]Kingston Arts Centre [/url]
    is located at 979-985 Nepean Hwy, Moorabbin.
  • BLAK WIT IN THE WEST by on Tue, 21 Jul 2015 12:29:09 +1000:
    The differences between the two major Indigenous art prizes in Australia – the NATSIAAs in Darwin and the WA Indigenous Art Awards in Perth – may be widening. While this year's finalists up North are predominantly artists from remote communities (see my separate story), 35% of Perth's selected finalists are urban/Blak artists. And winner Megan Cope, announced on 3rd July, is certainly one of them.

    Cope is a proudly identifying Noonucal/Ngugi woman of 30. She has nothing to prove to herself and the world – though the Australia Council's Aboriginal Arts Board sought to disagree – that she is Aboriginal. So the notion of her needing a Blaktism (Baptism – get it???) ceremony to give her the authenticity her less-than-black appearance denies her is a cruel irony. Indeed, in 'proving' herself to the Australia Council, she did even begin to doubt herself: “Am I Aboriginal enough???”

    Her film [i]'The Blaktism'[/i]
    captures that irony subtly but well – the sense of non-Indigenous ceremony, a plinth covered by the Union Jack, the Renaissance church music and dog-collared celebrant, and the wonderfully pious euphemism for the 'blacking up' part of the ceremony - “pigment resolution” - set the scene for Megan's proud smile as she seals her transformation with a ritual drink. Once alone, however, an emptiness is apparent as she slowly wipes the blacking off; perhaps she's thinking of Andrew Bolt?

    Oddly, the quiet power of the piece is read by WAIAA judge Amy Barrett-Lennard as being associated with the brashness and 'showy' work that comes out of the proppaNOW group in Brisbane – Cope's former alma mater. I disagree – but it may help to explain Cope's victory in Perth for a piece of work that no tribal Aboriginal artist could begin to imagine creating. It's subject-matter, dramaturgy and technology are specifically the province of an urban artist.

    No doubt, fellow urbanites Karla Dickens, Sandra Hill, Archie Moore and Steaphen Paton would understand; but I doubt that Yunkarra Billy Atkins (Martu), Simon Hogan (Pitjanjatjara), Ninggirrnga Marawili (Yolngu), Eunice Porter (Ngaanyatjarra – and winner of the WA Artist's Award for her 'history paintings'), Betty Kuntiwa Pumani (Yankunytjatjara), John Prince Siddon (Walmajarri), the eight-strong Tjala Collaborative (APY Lands) or Carlene West (Pitjanjatjara) would see the point. Maybe the increasingly high-profile naïve Aranda artist Vincent Namatjira, the grandson of Albert who create stories around figurative cartoons of his grandfather, the Queen, John Howard and Julia Gillard, might just see the irony.

    So – very hard for judges Clothilde Bullen and Carly Lane from the WA Art Gallery, Kimberley Moulton from the Melbourne Museum and Amy Barrett-Lennard, director of the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts to compare and contrast. Three Indigenous judges but none from a tribal language group – as the NATSIAAs are pioneering this year. What could they intuit of the collaborative negotiation required for the eight Elder artists from Amata to agree on designs for their three large canvases? Would they have been able to feel the pain of the Spinifex artist Carlene West as she claimed back the lands from which she was separated by the Maralinga atomic tests in canvases that burst on to the scene last year? Is the radicality of great grandmother Nonggirrnga Marawili's bark painting reflecting on traditional Lightning Snake stories in ways unlike any other Yolngu artist, readily apparent to urban eyes?

    In the catalogue, curator Carly Lane makes the case – one that I've also made before – that categorisations as 'spiritual' and 'political' tend to be attached to remote and urban Aboriginal art, in that order, in order to separate and divide them. Whereas she would argue that both are as likely to be present in both camps. I'm sure Megan Cope and Carlene West both contain the two categories – as should have been apparent from my assessments of each's contribution to the Awards. But did I suggest that Cope's work was not 'authentic'? For that is Lane's conclusion – that the spiritual/political divide has disadvantaged the urban work from acceptance as 'authentic' Aboriginal art.

    In fact, surely [i]both [/i]
    are disadvantaged by being given a single label. People who are uncomfortable with the notion that any sort of spiritual statement might lie in their desert canvas or Arnhem bark need to be redirected towards the politics of Country or the unique aesthetic of that tribal group. One only has to look at the history of the WA Awards – where People's Choice prizes have gone to the late Shane Pickett (twice), Michael Cook and Brian Robinson – four out of the five occasions – and all Western-trained artists.

    The stimulating exhibition of not just single works but a curated group of works from each artist continues at the WA Gallery until 12 October. And you can vote in their People's Choice Awards online (after studying the art) at [url=http://www.artgallery.wa.gov.au/WAIAA_2015/peoples-choice-award.asp]http://www.artgallery.wa.gov.au/WAIAA_2015/peoples-choice-award.asp[/url]
    .
  • TELSTRAS CHARGE ON by on Tue, 21 Jul 2015 12:29:09 +1000:
    The recent release of the 65 names that will be adjudged next month for the six National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art awards – the NATSIAAs – conceal some remarkable developments in Darwin. It seems unlikely that they originated with the new Director at the Museum & Art Gallery of the NT - Marcus Schutenko, formerly the CEO of the Museum of Chinese Australian History in Melbourne – since he was only appointed in May.

    So perhaps we have his unlucky predecessor, Pierre Arpin to thank for these innovations.

    For a start, there's an Aboriginal artist judging the Awards! That hasn't happened since they began 32 years ago, though it's been a proposal of mine for a long time. It's so refreshing to see Bidyadanga dynamo Daniel Walbidi (last year's Telstra Painting winner) up there as one of the three judges – though the others once again represent the southern establishment: Tony Elwood Director of the NGV and Cara Pinchbeck, Indigenous curator at the AGNSW.

    And then there's definite suggestions that the debate which MAGNT Chair, Allan Myers QC raised at last years Awards is heading for resolution. He wondered just how feasible it is to judge the Western-trained artists of the South against the traditionally-inspired artists of remote Australia. Well, as far as I can tell, without changing any of the rules, just three southern artists have made the cut – the least for many a year. Did the heroes of Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney not enter? Or were the judges responding to Myers' line of questioning?

    So it'll be intriguing to see how Anna Dowling, former Telstra winner Julie's cousin from Adelaide, Damien Shen, the Chinese/Aboriginal nephew of Ngarrindjeri leader, Major Sumner, who was inspired by Vernon Ah Kee's work, and Josh Muir, the Ballarat boy for whom his graffiti-based art was part of his way away from drugs, fare on August 7th. After all the WA Indigenous Art Award went this year to Melbourne's Megan Cope for a video work which must have been almost impossible to compare with the Tjala Collaborative of Pitjanjatjara Elders or Nonggirnga Marawili's barks from Arnhemland.

    Finally, the NATSIAAs seem to have responded to my plaint about the absence of a sense of ceremony at the actual prize-giving – that wonderful event which takes place as the sun sets over the waveless Arafura Sea. Can't guarantee the theatricality this year – though new man Marcus Schutenko does have a theatrical background – but Christine Anu has been hired to provide both glamour and songs that should nicely link her Torresian islander origins to this seaside setting.

    So here are the 2015 contestants for the $50,000 Big Telstra and the five $5000 artform prizes:
    Anna Dowling - Adelaide
    Anyupa Stevens - Nyapari, South Australia
    Barayuwa Mununggurr - Yirrkala, Northern Territory
    Barbara Mbitjana Moore - Amata, South Australia
    Betty Conway - Alice Springs, Northern Territory
    Betty Kuntiwa Pumani - Mimili, South Australia
    Bob Gibson - Tjukurla, Western Australia
    Bobby West Tjupurrula - Kirwirrkura, Western Australia
    Brian Robinson - Cairns, Queensland
    Carol Golding - Wanarn, Western Australia
    Clarise Tunkin - Kunpi, South Australia
    Claudia Moodoonuthi - Brisbane, Queensland
    Damien Shen - Adelaide
    Daniel O'Shane - Cairns, Queensland
    Esther Giles - Tjukurla, Western Australia
    Evelyn Omeenyo - Lockhart River, Queensland
    Florence Gutchen - Darnley Island, Torres Strait, Queensland
    Garawan Wanambi - Yirrkala, Northern Territory
    Gladdy Kemarre - Utopia, Northern Territory
    Glen Mackie - Cairns, Queensland
    Gordon Ingkatji - Pukatja (Ernabella), South Australia
    Graham Badari - Gunbalanya, Northern Territory
    Guykuda Mununggurr - Yirrkala, Northern Territory
    Heather Koowootha - Cairns, Queensland
    Hector Burton - Amata, South Australia
    Hubert Pareroultja - Alice Springs, Northern Territory
    Jakayu Biljabu - Fitzroy Crossing, Western Australia
    Janine McAullay Bott - Perth, Western Australia
    Josh Muir - Ballarat, Victoria
    Jukuja Dolly Snell - Fitzroy Crossing, Western Australia
    Keith and Tjampana Stevens - Nyapari, South Australia
    Kieren Karritpul - Nauiyu, Daly River, Northern Territory
    Laurie Ngallametta - Arakun, Queensland
    Laurie Nona - Badu Island, Torres Strait, Queensland
    Mabel Juli - Warmun, Western Australia 
    Margaret Boko - Alice Springs, Northern Territory
    Maria Josette Orsto - Nguiu, Northern Territory
    Marrnyula Mununggurr - Yirrkala, Northern Territory
    Mick Wilkilyiri - Amata, South Australia
    Mulkun Wirrpanda - Dhuruputjpi, Northern Territory
    Munmalih Sisters - Manaburduma, Northern Territory
    Murdie Nampijinpa Morris - Nyirripi, Northern Territory
    Naomi Hobson - Coen, Cape York, Queensland
    Napuwarri Marawili - Yirrkala, Northern Territory
    Ngupulya Pumani - Mimili, South Australia
    Nonggirrnga Marawili - Yirrkala, Northern Territory
    Nyapanyapa Yunupingu - Birritjimi, Northern Territory
    Nyarapayi Giles - Tjukurla, Western Australia
    Nyunmiti Burton - Amata, Northern Territory
    Phyllis Thomas - Rugan, Western Australia
    Rammey Ramsey - Bow River, Western Australia
    Rerrkirrwanga Mununggurr - Wandawuy, Northern Territory
    Rhonda Sharpe - Alice Springs, Northern Territory
    Robert Fielding - Mimili, South Australia
    Rusty Peters - Warmun, Western Australia
    Shirley Macnamara - Mt Guide Station, Queensland
    Sid Bruce Short Joe - Pormpuraaw, Cape York, Queensland
    Spinifex Women's Collaborative - Tjuntjuntjara, Western Australia
    Tiger Yaltangki - Indulkana, South Australia
    Tjungkara Ken - Rocket Bore, South Australia
    Venita Woods - Kanpi, Northern Territory
    Wukun Wanambi - Yirrkala, Northern Territory
    Yinarupa Nangala - Kiwirrkurra, Western Australia
    Yukultji Napangati - Kiwirrkurra, Western Australia
    Yurpiya Lionel - Pukatja (Ernabella), South Australia
  • by on Thu, 16 Jul 2015 21:33:51 +1000:
    2015 Archibald finalist Adam (aka Black Douglas) Hill has talked about the subject of his entry, [i]Smoke and mirrors[/i]
    Uncle Max Eulo as having, "...etched his way into modern Sydney Aboriginal culture somewhat enigmatically.

    "I recall seeing him for the first time, a decade ago at a launch in Ashfield. His introductory catch phrase was, 'My name's Uncle Max Eulo and I'm from Bourke... where the Crows fly backwards'. Thereafter, I've seen Uncle Max at most Indigenous events, cleansing the scene with his coolamon and smoking gum leaves.

    "I thought this lovely man should be portrayed not only because of his prepossessing face but the fact that he has become one of the most recognised artistic celebrities within the performative public arena. Where there’s smoke, there’s Uncle Max".

    We can only imagine those people Blak Douglas gave artworks to a couple of years ago at Tandanya, Adelaide, will be over the moon.

    Born Adam Douglas Hill on Dharug Country (Blacktown) to an Aboriginal Father & Australian Mother, he has been producing art for 17 years now. Connected to a family of artisans, later studying photography / illustration and graphics at UWS Nepean. Largely self-taught in the painting genre of modern / pop, however, and began painting in an industrial unit in Jamisontown (South Penrith).

    But to find out more about who he is, have a read of [url=http://news.aboriginalartdirectory.com/2013/10/smellin-it-like-it-is.php]this piece he wrote for the AAD News a couple of years ago[/url]
    leading up to his Tandanya exhibition.

    Adam (aka Blak Douglas) Hill's works are collected both nationally and internationally, including the National Gallery & National Museums of Australia, National Maritime Museum, Parliament of NSW, Taipei Museum and The Aboriginal Art Museum of Utrecht.

    Please head to our [url=http://gallery.aboriginalartdirectory.com/aboriginal-art/adam-hill/]Gallery[/url]
    to view more.
  • Resale Royalty Admin Fee Increase by on Tue, 09 Jun 2015 19:42:19 +1000:
    Copyright Agency has just announced a 5% increase in its administration fees on Resale Royalties, to take effect from 1 July 2015. This increase brings the service cost to 15%, in line with fees being charged by resale schemes internationally.

    For an average transaction it will not have a major effect on payments being made to the artists. Since 2010 (when the Resale Royalty Scheme was first introduced) more than 10,000 resales, generating almost $3.4 million in payments to artists, have been reported. The highest payment has been $55,000, but on average the payments are recorded as being between $50 and $500, and on that basis a typical increase will be between $2.50 and $25. So on a $50 royalty, for example, CAL will now deduct a $7.50 (15%) admin fee, along with 1.5% (the 10% GST) which is payable to the Government, and $41.75 will be paid to the artist.

    The Resale Royalty Scheme has been the subject of some debate. While dealers have claimed it harmful to trade, it has been regarded byAboriginal artists as a [url=http://www.smh.com.au/comment/resale-right-a-source-of-pride-for-all-artists-20150316-144msx] source of pride[/url]
    and [url=http://news.aboriginalartdirectory.com/2015/04/ruminations-on-provenance-and-authenticity.php]an important moral rights recognition[/url]
    .

    It is also a system which improves provenance, here argued by Russell Drysdale's daughter, Lynne Clarke, putting the case for the importance of archival documentation and [url=http://www.copyright.com.au/news-events/copyright-agency-in-the-news/Improvingartprovenancemeansonlyforgerslose.pdf]chronology of ownership[/url]
    in an opinion piece published by the Australian Financial Review earlier this year.

    The number of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander artists who have received royalties is stated as 65%, or approx 40% of the total royalties to date.
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