“aboriginal art”

A boomerang effect in Geneva

The MEG is dedicating an exhibition to the diversity and wealth of Australia’s arts. “L’Effet boomerang. Les arts aborigènes d’Australie”, thus offers insight into the colonisation of this country, from a political and aesthetic perspective. It was in 1770 that British explorer James Cook, acting as a representative of King George III, became the first Westerner to set foot on the Terra incognita, today known as Australia. Even if the land was already populated, the explorer still dubbed this territory as Terra nullius – “no man’s land”, an expression that says a great deal about the way indigenous people were long considered as a primitive society. However, the “material culture” developed by Australia’s 270 or so ethnicities over the 60,000 years in which they had inhabited the territory would whet the interest of Western travellers. Many European goods were exchanged for local fetishes, sometimes painlessly, for the Aborigines had the means to reproduce these artefacts easily. It was during this period that Australia became a “contact zone” between two worlds, two space-time bodies. In the Second Preface to Bajazet, Racine stated that “spatial distance may compensate for temporal proximity”. By discovering Australia, the West conquered the ends of the Earth, and made the acquaintance of a radical otherness, originally viewed according to an axiology riddled with prejudices pitting the primitive against the civilised or the natural against the social. What remained to be constructed were bridges between two territories but also across the centuries. Not exactly straightforward, as anthropologists Herbert Spencer and Francis James Gillen noted. For the Aborigines, the time of individuals is integrated into the notion of the Dreaming or the Dreamtime, a poetic expression coined by anthropologist Francis James Gillen to describe the pervasive mythology of humans meeting their ancestors during ritual ceremonies. From an aboriginal...

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Aboriginal Art – The Thomas Vroom Collection

Bonhams Sydney will be holding an auction entitled “Aboriginal Art: The Thomas Vroom Collection” on 6 September 2015. The sale of the Thomas Vroom collection has works that are well over 100 years old. Vroom began collecting in the late 1980s. His collection is the largest and most valuable Aboriginal Art collections in Europe, and has been featured in the Aboriginal Art Museum in Utrecht, The Netherlands. Up for auction are works by indigenous artist Emily Kngwarreye, bark paintings by Nadjombolmi, and a rare roundel Anooralya Yam, with an estimated price of...

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Aboriginal art collection amasses over £1 million at Sotheby’s London

Sotheby’s first London sale in the field of Aboriginal Art, which took place on 10 June 2015, amassed over £1 million, marking the first of its kind to be held by a major auction house outside of Australia. The sale was centred around selected works from the Thomas Vroom Collection, one of Europe’s largest, most valuable and significant collections. The collection includes important items from the anthropological collections of Lance Bennett, Kim Akerman, and Dr. Joseph Birdsell, as well as early artefacts, figurative carvings, rare erotic bark paintings, and major contemporary canvases by celebrated artists such as Rover Thomas and Emily Kngwarreye. The sale’s top lots comprised: Jack Karedada’s Namarali – The First One and Emily Kame Kngwarreye’s Wild Yam 2, both selling for £100,000. Also performing well were Alec Mingelmanganu’s Wanjina (Austral Gothic), which sold for £93,750; Ningura Napurrula’s Woman’s Birth Site at the Rockhole Site of Wirrulnga, which sold for £77,500; and an early 19th-century broad shield from the lower Murray river (£87,000). Sotheby’s senior consultant from Australia, Tim Klingender, the specialist in charge of the sale, said he was thrilled with the results. “It was a bit of a risk to put a sale of Aboriginal art outside Australia and I always wondered whether Australian bidders would participate in the sale,” he revealed. “I wondered whether there was enough global interest to support it but I was absolutely astounded by the results and the market and the...

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Aboriginal art sale at Millon

The french auction house Millon is hosting a contemporary aboriginal art sale on 6 June 2015 in Paris. 169 lots are to be put up for sale, all of which are works of pictorial art but realised on a variety of materials such as paper, eucalyptus bark, trunk, and canvas, and suited to different budgets, with the estimated prices of the works ranging from €80 to €6,000. These include: lot 68, Barramundi – Namarnkol (1998), made of natural and acrylic pigments on paper, measuring 31 x 21 cm, realised by Gershom Garlngarr, and estimated at between €80 and €100; lot 77, an untitled work realised from natural pigments on eucalyptus bark measuring 70 x 35 cm by Dhopiya Yunupingu, estimated at between €400 and €600; lot 75, entitled Coolamon, made of acrylic on wood, measuring 71.5 x 21.5 cm by Shorty Robertson Jangala, estimated at between €700 and €900; lot 24, Sacred Design (1999), an acrylic on paper measuring 104 x 75 cm and drawn by Micky Dorrung, estimated at between €1,200 and €1,500; lot 44, Untitled (7 Sisters Dreaming), an acrylic canvas measuring 151 x 94 cm, created by Alma Granites Nungurrayi, estimated at between €2,500 and €2,800; and the most important piece of the sale, lot 43, Untitled, an acrylic on canvas measuring 150 x 120 cm, realised by Ningura Napurrula and estimated at between €5,000 and €6,000. With a large variety of forms, colours, materials, and prices on offer, this aboriginal art sale offers bidders plenty of choice. The lots are to be publicly exhibited on 5 and 6 June...

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Ronnie Tjampitjinpa at the Art Gallery of New South Wales

From 4 April until 1 November 2015, the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, is to host an exhibition of works by the painter Ronnie Tjampitjinpa. Born in 1943, Aboriginal artist Ronnie Tjampitjinpa is one of the youngest of the group of artists that began painting at Papunya in 1971, which led to the emergence of the Western Desert art movement. A founder of the hugely influential Papunya Tula Artists, he emerged as one of its major painters in the early 1990s and continues to paint today. Tjampitjinpa’s is most famous for his bold, graphic paintings that explore the Tingari ancestors and their travels over vast areas of the Western Desert region. In 1988, he won the Alice Springs Art Prize, and had his first solo exhibition in Melbourne in...

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