August 29 – December 21, 2014
In the fall of 2014 the Kluge-Ruhe Collection presented Gurari – Saltwater Drinker, an exhibition of works by Melbourne-based artist Ricardo Idagi (Meriam). Gurari brought together nine of Idagi’s sculptural works that serve as a visual memoir of Mer (Murray Island) as his home. The sculptures are made of a wide variety of materials, from raffia and feathers to beer cans and wrought iron. The works comment on political and social issues facing Torres Strait Islanders today, such as multigenerational alcoholism and the impact of the Anglican mission on the Island. The exhibition also honored the rich cultural heritage of Meriam people and Idagi’s own personal resilience.
This exhibition was presented in partnership with Australia Council for the Arts and Vivien Anderson Gallery.
January 20 – May 17, 2015
This selection of fourteen prints are the result of an eight year partnership between Papunya Tjupi, an art center in a remote desert community, and Cicada Press, a print workshop at the University of New South Wales Art & Design in Sydney. Papunya is a community of particular importance in Australia, best known as the birthplace of the contemporary Western Desert art movement, which launched Aboriginal art into the international art world in the 1970s and 80s. The artists featured in New Narratives are the descendants of the founders of this movement. The partnership between Papunya Tjupi and Cicada Press marks the addition of the new medium of printmaking into Papunya’s art history. The medium may have changed, but the reasons for making art have not. One of the artists, Tilau Nangala, paints “so the children can watch me paint and learn, so I can pass on my Dreaming and stories to my grandchildren.” Papunya Tjupi art center continues to be a conduit for the expertise and experience of internationally renowned senior artists to be passed onto the next generation, who make up the current group of over 100 artists, many of whom have never painted before.
January 17 – May 18, 2014
In the spring of 2014 the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of U.Va. is exhibiting the work of Indigenous Australian Nici Cumpston, an artist and curator from Adelaide, of Barkindji, Afghan, Irish and English heritage.
having-been-there is a series of images created by Cumpston to document the evidence of Aboriginal occupation in Australia before European settlement. Tree engravings, ring trees, and remnants of stone tools abound in Barkindji land. These act as subtle signifiers of the ancestors that once lived in and created the country, and of food and water sources that ensured survival. They also serve as undeniable proof of Aboriginal people “having been there,” before and amidst the colonial assertion of terra nullius, the idea that Australia was a “land without people.” Additionally they are records of the Murray-Darling Basin river system’s natural beauty, as well as its gradual destruction from pollution, salination, and re-routing.