Art and Country is a diverse selection of thirty-four works on canvas, paper and eucalyptus bark drawn from the Kluge-Ruhe’s permanent collection. The exhibition explores the range of ways in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists develop and maintain relationships with “country,” their homeland. Many artists represent features of the landscape to communicate their ongoing connection to their ancestral land and the Dreaming. Other artists raise awareness about the dispossession of country as a result of colonization or investigate the importance of story and personal memory. Throughout the exhibition visitors are invited to reflect upon their own connections to land and place.
May 30 – August 24, 2014
Friday, May 30th, 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
This group exhibition brings together artists from Jilamara Arts and Crafts and Munupi Arts and Crafts, two art centers located roughly sixty miles north of Darwin off the northern coast of Australia. The carved and painted Pukumani poles from the forests of Bathurst and Melville Islands – the land of the Tiwi people – have inspired international collectors, curators and artists for a century or more.
Tiwi culture, history and traditional stories are vividly expressed through lines, patterns and colors, in carvings and in their contemporary paintings, prints on paper and fabric, and pottery. The islands are home to this unique and regional Indigenous Australian cultural group, who have fascinating histories, geography, cultural practices and ceremonies. Despite the islands’ relative proximity to the mainland, their snaking waterways, hidden waterfalls, and forests of Pandanus palms (which hide the slowly decaying Pukumani burial poles of ancestors) are pristine. The beaches are breathtaking with their rilliant white sand, ochre cliffs, clear water, and abundant sea life.
For the Tiwi, the art of body painting design, or jilamara, for important ceremonies has been practiced for thousands of years. Ochres are collected and used to adorn the body for Pukumani (funeral) and Kulama (initiation/yam) ceremonies. Artists on the Tiwi Islands predominantly use natural ochres to honor and perpetuate their traditional culture, an intrinsic part of Tiwi life.
This exhibition is presented in partnership with Harvey Art Projects USA. An opening reception for We Are Tiwi and Art and Country will be held on Friday, May 30, from 5:30-7:30 pm. Julie Harvey, Director of Harvey Art Projects USA, will be present to answer questions about the exhibition.
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.