Saturday, December 4, 2010

Awe-inspiring indigenous art

A highlight of my trip to the Northern Territory in September was the Desert Mob 2010 exhibition at the Araluen Arts Centre in Alice Springs. It's an annual exhibition of art from Aboriginal communities across the Western Desert region spanning the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia.

We only had a short time there, but as I hurried from room to room, I felt exhilarated by the explosion of colour and the diversity of painting styles plus weaving, pottery and sculpture.

Here's a few pics of the exhibition catalogue:

Front cover of the catalogue: Harry Tjutjuna. Wati Ngintaka, Wati Nyiru, Wanka and Kungka Tjuta, 2009. Acrylic on linen 202 x 264 cm. Araluen Art Collection. Purchased from Desert Mob 2009.

Left: Sadie Singer. Old trucks, 2010. Acrylic on canvas 100 x 120 cm. Iwantja Arts.
Right: Nyarrapyi Giles. Warmurrungu, 2010. Acrylic on canvas 182 x 179 cm. Tjarlirli Art.

Left: Tommy Mitchell. Wakalpuka, 2010. Acrylic on canvas 101 x 76 cm. Warakurna Artists.
Right: Tiger Palpatja. Piltati ka Wati Tjakura, 2010. Acrylic on canvas 199 x 122 cm. Tjungu Palya.


Back in Sydney, I went to the open weekend at Art Gallery of NSW for the Art + Soul exhibition, and also loved the associated ABC tv series presented by curator Hetti Perkins and directed by Warwick Thornton.

Hetti Perkins, Art + Soul, ABC tv series 2010. Source:

One of the most astounding moments in the series, for me, was watching Aboriginal artist Mr Giles 'sing' a painting by another artist. Although he had never seen the artwork before, he immediately recognised and understood its story. It gave me goosebumps to realise the depth of meaning contained in these abstract works.

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