September 6 – December 29, 2013
In 2000, David Bosun was chosen by elders as one of four artists to begin recording the Islands’ creation stories in the form of printmaking. This marked the first time that traditional stories took visual form since the loss of their material culture to missionaries and collectors a century earlier. Known for its strong figurative imagery and intricate design, or minaral, Bosun’s work reflects Melanesian influences inspired through longstanding trade between Torres Strait Islanders and coastal Papua New Guineans. The linoleum and woodblock prints in the exhibition Ngau Gidthal (My Stories), illustrate the ancestral traditions of the Mualgal people, from seasonal indicators used in ancient hunting practices to the significance of the constellations within the celestial sphere.
David Bosun’s interest in the visual arts began at age four, when he began practicing traditional dancing and singing. He attended Cairns Technical and Further Educational Institute in 1996, and is a founding member of Mualgau Minaral Artist Collective. His work was included in Gelam Nguzu Kazi (Dugong My Son), which was the first touring exhibition of artwork from Moa Island.
He will be the first resident artist at the Kluge-Ruhe Collection under its prestigious grant from Australia Council for the Arts, which awarded residencies to six Indigenous Australian artists. The exhibition and residency has also been presented in partnership with Ngalmun Lagau Minaral Art Centre and The Australian Art Print Network. Bosun’s residency has been supported by the McIntire Department of Art, the McIntire Department of Music, and the Department of Drama.
An opening reception will celebrate the exhibition on Friday, September 6 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm.
This exhibition contains twenty works from the permanent collection from the central desert communities of Papunya, Yuendumu and Balgo. Traditional art from this region was painted on the body or drawn in the sand. Such ephemeral images have inspired more permanent contemporary art forms, specifically acrylic paintings on board and canvas. Beginning in 1971 at a government settlement called Papunya, Aboriginal men produced paintings on masonite, wood and eventually canvas. This activity grew into a major art movement that radiated out to other communities such as Yuendumu and Balgo. Men and women artists in each place distinguished their own local style of painting by varying elements like the palette of colors and quality of dots. The iconography used in desert painting represents features of the landscape, ancestral beings and their activities in the creation era known as the Dreaming (Tjukurrpa/Jukurrpa). Through concentric circles, wavy lines, and animal tracks, Aboriginal artists express a traditional body of knowledge and relationship to land that has persisted for thousands of years.
On view in the lobby of the Fralin Museum of Art are acrylic paintings by Emily Kame Kngwarreye and Timmy Payungka Tjapangati. A selection of seventeen objects, including sculpture, bark paintings and musical instruments are on display in the Fralin’s Object Study Gallery on the second floor.
A textual artworks by Aboriginal artist Vernon Ah Kee is installed on U.Va. Grounds at Brooks Hall Commons.