Recent News at Kluge-Ruhe
November 28 – 29: closed
All other days open with normal hours
December 23-26: closed
Friday, December 27: open 10 am – 4 pm, free guided tour at 10:30 am
Saturday, December 28: open 10 am – 4 pm, free guided tour at 10:30 am
Sunday, December 29: open 1 pm – 5 pm
December 30- January 1: closed
The Kluge-Ruhe Collection is celebrating National Native American Heritage Month this year with its creation of an Indigenous Film Program, as part of the Virginia Film Festival, and an associated Flash Seminar.
The Indigenous Film Program consists of two Indigenous films: the Australian Aboriginal film Satellite Boy (2012) and a Canadian Inuit film titled Uvanga. With support from U.Va. Arts Council, the Arctic Culture Forum, and the Embassy of Australia, the Kluge-Ruhe Collection has been successful in bringing the writer and director of Satellite Boy, Catriona McKenzie, and an anthropologist at the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center, Stephen Loring, for discussions after the respective films. Click here to buy tickets, and here to learn more about each film and see screening times and locations.
Catriona McKenzie will also lead a Flash Seminar at U.Va., which will examine the recent trend of making films on smartphones. It will take place at OpenGrounds, at 6:45 pm on Wednesday, November 6. Pizza will be provided.
31 October 2013
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
NATIONAL NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH, 2013
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
From Alaskan mountain peaks to the Argentinian pampas to the rocky shores of Newfoundland, Native Americans were the first to carve out cities, domesticate crops, and establish great civilizations. When the Framers gathered to write the United States Constitution, they drew inspiration from the Iroquois Confederacy, and in the centuries since, American Indians and Alaska Natives from hundreds of tribes have shaped our national life. During Native American Heritage Month, we honor their vibrant cultures and strengthen the government-to-government relationship between the United States and each tribal nation.
As we observe this month, we must not ignore the painful history Native Americans have endured — a history of violence, marginalization, broken promises, and upended justice. There was a time when native languages and religions were banned as part of a forced assimilation policy that attacked the political, social, and cultural identities of Native Americans in the United States. Through generations of struggle, American Indians and Alaska Natives held fast to their traditions, and eventually the United States Government repudiated its destructive policies and began to turn the page on a troubled past.
My Administration remains committed to self-determination, the right of tribal governments to build and strengthen their own communities. Each year I host the White House Tribal Nations Conference, and our work together has translated into action. We have resolved longstanding legal disputes, prioritized placing land into trust on behalf of tribes, stepped up support for Tribal Colleges and Universities, made tribal health care more accessible, and streamlined leasing regulations to put more power in tribal hands. Earlier this year, an amendment to the Stafford Act gave tribes the option to directly request Federal emergency assistance when natural disasters strike their homelands. In March, I signed the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, which recognizes tribal courts’ power to convict and sentence certain perpetrators of domestic violence, regardless of whether they are Indian or non-Indian. And this June, I moved to strengthen our nation-to-nation relationships by establishing the White House Tribal Council on Native American Affairs. The Council is responsible for promoting and sustaining prosperous and resilient Native American communities.
As we observe Native American Heritage Month, we must build on this work. Let us shape a future worthy of a bright new generation, and together, let us ensure this country’s promise is fully realized for every Native American.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 2013 as National Native American Heritage Month. I call upon all Americans to commemorate this month with appropriate programs and activities, and to celebrate November 29, 2013, as Native American Heritage Day.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.
The Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection has partnered with the U.Va. School of Architecture and the Virginia Film Festival to offer a one-of-a-kind opportunity for middle school students to use Pixar-style animation software. The final product will be a short animated film of an Aboriginal Dreaming story, which will be used as an educational resource by the affiliated Aboriginal community in Australia. The full-day workshop, titled Dreaming in Animation, is one of many programs offered at the Virginia Film Festival’s Family Day on Saturday, November 9th.
Each middle school participant will be mentored by a U.Va. student and taught the basics of Autodesk Maya, a comprehensive 3D software program. Then, each of the fifteen pairs will create movements for one animal in the Dreaming story, which will later be stitched together to create the final animation short.
The program is spearheaded by Lauren Maupin, Education and Program Coordinator at the Kluge-Ruhe Collection, and Earl Mark, Associate Professor in the U.Va. School of Architecture. Mark, who has extensive experience working in computer animation, teaches three U.Va. classes where digital moviemaking and animation is the primary focus.
Jane Freeman, Outreach Coordinator for the Virginia Film Festival, explains that the “workshop promises to be an outstanding experience for young filmmakers. Not only will participants work with U.Va. experts, but each will have a mentor to guide him or her through the animation process. The combination of the student support along with the unique equipment incorporated in the workshop makes for a very special program!”
The “Dreaming” is a term used to describe the belief systems of Australian Aboriginal cultures, which explains the spiritual origins and existence of the land and its people. The story that will be animated in the program is about Jiddelek, a frog who drinks all the water in Australia. Animals including a wombat, a kangaroo, an emu, and other birds and lizards, become thirsty and devise a plan to make Jiddelek give the water back. Each animal dances before the frog, and finally the humorous antics of a wriggling eel cause Jiddelek to laugh, emptying the water back into the rivers, creeks, lakes and waterholes.
The Kluge-Ruhe Collection has collaborated with the Aboriginal group that owns the story of Jiddelek, the Gunai/Kurnai people of East Gippsland. Community organizer Doris Paton will provide the narration for the story, and the final product will be used as a tool to preserve and educate young generations of Gunai/Kurnai people about their traditional stories and heritage.
“It has been exciting to see how, with the superb dedication of Earl Mark, the program has grown to include such a variety of partners and beneficiaries. Both the workshop and the final product will provide an unparalleled opportunity for all involved,” said Lauren Maupin of Kluge-Ruhe.
Four U.Va. students (Tina Cheng, Caitlin Gallagher, Marina Michael, and Monica Mohapatra) and two alumni (Roderick Cruz and Carter Tata) are dedicating numerous hours to building the characters and the environment for the animation in preparation for the program. Fifteen U.Va. students from varying disciplines have volunteered to be mentors on the day of the program.
Professor Mark believes that “tapping into the high creativity of middle-school age participants combined with the imagination and intelligence of University students has a wonderful potential to build visual interpretations of the Dreaming Story.”
Middle school students who want to participate in this free program are encouraged to apply as soon as possible by pre-registering on the Virginia Film Festival’s Family Day website and completing the program application. The program will take place at Campbell Hall on Saturday, November 9th from 9:00 am – 3:30 pm, with lunch included.
This workshop is part of the Kluge-Ruhe Collection’s Indigenous Film Program at the VFF, which was supported by a grant from U.Va. Arts Council.
The Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of U.Va. is pioneering the inclusion of Indigenous films in the 2013 Virginia Film Festival. Co-sponsored by U.Va. Arts Council and the Arctic Culture Forum, the Indigenous Film Program includes two feature length dramas, an Australian Aboriginal film called Satellite Boy and a Canadian Inuit film titled Uvanga . Tickets are available here.
Satellite Boy (2012) traces the story of a ten-year old boy named Pete, who takes off to the city to save the abandoned outdoor cinema he lives in with his grandfather in the desert. It will be screened on Friday, November 8 at 4:45 pm at Regal Cinemas 4 on the Downtown Mall. Writer and Director Catriona McKenzie, an Indigenous Australian, will be present for the screening and the discussion that will follow the film. McKenzie spent eight years directing documentaries for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and has won honors at a number of festivals. Starring David Gulpilil and Cameron Wallaby, Satellite Boy was an official selection for the Toronto Film Festival and was screened at the Berlin International Film Festival.
Uvanga (2013) explores the expedition of Anna and her son, Tomas, to the small community of Igloolik in the Canadian Arctic to learn about Tomas’ paternal heritage. Tomas’ Inuk father died years ago, and the joy of the homecoming is mixed with memories of a painful chapter in the town’s shared history, creating resentment and tension. Uvanga recently won ‘Best Feature’ at the Yellow Knife International Film Festival. It will screen on Thursday, November 7 at 5:30 pm at Regal Cinemas 1 on the Downtown Mall. A Q&A will follow with Dr. Stephen Loring from the Smithsonian’s Arctic Studies Center. Dr. Loring has over thirty years of involvement with Inuit communities and is an amateur filmmaker.
On Family Day, Saturday, November 9, the Kluge-Ruhe Collection has partnered with the U.Va. School of Architecture to offer Dreaming in Animation, a program for middle-school students to try their hand using Pixar-level animation software to bring an Australian Aboriginal Dreaming story to life. The workshop will run from 9:00 – 3:30 pm in Campbell Hall. Interested participants can find the application form on the Family Day website or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Ashley Patterson
University of Virginia students are only one month into the semester, yet art professor Bill Bennett’s “Introduction to Sculpture” class already has something to show for its work.
The students collaborated with Torres Strait Islander artist David Bosun, the artist-in-residence at the Kluge-Ruhe Collection, to hand-carve a traditional ceremonial Torres Straight totem pole. Standing more than 8 feet tall and carved from a 250-year old pecan tree, the pole features faces, animals and even the students’ initials embedded into the designs.
On Tuesday, Kluge-Ruhe celebrated Bosun and U.Va. sculpture students for their collaborative work. The museum invited the University and Charlottesville community to join Bosun for a discussion on his art, culture and inspiration, culminating in the celebratory unveiling of the totem pole.
Bosun came to the University for a four-week stay as an artist-in-residence, thanks to a grant from the Australia Council for the Arts. He is the first of six Indigenous Australian artists who will take part in a U.Va. residency over the next three years.
Bosun arrived in Charlottesville ready to teach, learn and create, said Margo Smith, director and curator of Kluge-Ruhe.
After finding him hammering away at the sculpture for hours on one of his first days in the studio, Smith told him, “David, you don’t have to finish that today,” but Bosun just looked up and smiled.
Bosun has been “enthusiastic and excited, ready to hit the ground running and take advantage of every opportunity,” Smith said.
Among those opportunities was the chance to work with students. Bennett’s classes met weekly with Bosun, where they learned the skills and techniques as well as the patience it takes to hand-carve a totem pole. With countless hours spent carefully pounding their mallets into the wood, the result was true artwork.
The pole was carved from a 250-year old pecan tree that recently fell at the University. Bosun celebrated the life of the tree on such historical land, saying, “We are making history with history.”
The experience of working with Bosun resonated with the students who came into the class unfamiliar with many of the techniques taught by the artist. Third-year student Sandy Williams expected individual work and the slow learning process that typically accompanies introductory courses, and was surprised to be able to participate in the creation of this piece so early in the semester.
Bosun “instilled confidence that we couldn’t mess up,” Williams said. “He was a good mentor with art-making in general.”
Bosun’s work is heavily influenced by his spiritual beliefs. Traditional totem poles play a significant part in ceremonial ancestry traditions in the Torres Straight Islands. Bosun introduced to Bennett’s students the role of the totem pole and his inspirations, which include ancestry, environment, animals and spirits. He said the passion stirred within him while creating a piece is actually the passion of his ancestors, who are using his art as a medium to speak.
Bosun said he incorporated his ancestral beliefs in creating the totem pole with Bennett’s students.
“It’s a different idea,” Williams said. “It takes opened-mindedness.”
Graduate student Lindsay Hinz had a more difficult time connecting with Bosun’s spiritual inspiration, yet she said the experience taught her “there is something in everyone’s life they can connect to, even if it isn’t ancestry.”
The collaboration not only resonated with the students but also had an impact on Bosun as well. “I had a very good experience with all the students,” he said. “It was my first time teaching and my first time teaching wood-carving. The passion they showed was a good experience for me, because I’ve never had it with my own people since I have never taught before.”
The totem pole will join Bosun’s Ngau Gidthal (My Stories) exhibition at the Kluge-Ruhe Collection in mid-October. The exhibition will be on display through Dec. 29.
In September the Kluge-Ruhe Collection of U.Va. will host artist David Bosun, a printmaker and woodcarver from Moa Island in the Torres Strait. His residency, sponsored by Australia Council for the Arts, will provide a variety of exciting, interdisciplinary opportunities to meet the artist and learn about his unique culture and art practice.
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), on view September 6 – December 29 at the Kluge-Ruhe Collection, 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.
Museum Director Margo Smith said, “David Bosun’s residency and exhibition will allow us to share the striking contemporary art and culture of Torres Strait Islanders, who are distinct from Aboriginal people on mainland Australia, and whose art is not well represented in the Kluge-Ruhe Collection.”
Bosun’s residency provides a unique opportunity for UVa students and the Charlottesville community to learn from a leading Indigenous Australian artist. He will briefly discuss his work at the opening reception of Ngau Gidthal (My Stories) on Friday, September 6 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Visitors can engage in depth with the artist the following morning, Saturday, September 7, during a guided tour of his prints at 10:30 am. Bosun will be present for the final Night at the Museum event of the summer, on Thursday, September 19, when the Kluge-Ruhe Collection throws open the doors to its expansive lawn for local beer, food trucks, and live music.
On Tuesday, September 24 at 5:30 pm, Bosun will discuss the breadth of his sculpture and printmaking practice over the last fifteen years in an Artist Talk in U.Va. Campbell Hall room 153, followed by a reception in Ruffin Hall. He will give a presentation on Torres Strait Islander astronomy at McCormick Observatory on Sunday, September 29 at 7 pm.
Bosun will work collaboratively with U.Va. studio art students on carving a wooden pole, the wood of which originates from a recent 250 year old Pecan tree that fell recently at the museum. He will also guest lecture in a printmaking class, and plans to share his knowledge and skill in traditional Torres Strait Islander dance in a course titled The Art of Dance.
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 is 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.
See our events page for a full list of events associated with Bosun’s residency.
A new exhibition of twenty works from the permanent collection titled Heart of the Desert will open on Tuesday and includes paintings from the Aboriginal communities of Papunya, Yuendumu and Balgo.
The central desert of Australia stretches from Lake Eyre in the southeast to the Kimberley Plateau in the northwest. This vast and diverse area is the homeland to people representing many different language and culture groups.
Traditional art from this region was painted on the body or drawn in the sand. Such ephemeral images have inspired more permanent and 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 the neighboring communities of 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 of desert paintings typically represent features of the landscape, ancestral beings and their activities in the creation era known as the Dreaming (Tjukurrpa/Jukurrpa). The concentric circles, wavy lines, and animal tracks that make up the primary design elements of the art of central Australia, express a traditional body of knowledge and relationship to land that has persisted for thousands of years.
NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee, and its origins can be traced to the emergence of Aboriginal groups in the 1920s which sought to increase awareness in the wider community of the status and treatment of Indigenous Australians. NAIDOC Week is an annual week-long celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and an opportunity to recognize the contributions of Indigenous Australians in various fields.
In recognition and celebration, the Kluge-Ruhe Collection will fly the Aboriginal flag for the duration of the week and is offering free, public programs.
SPONSORED BY THE EMBASSY OF AUSTRALIA
Guided Tour with Professor Howard Morphy
Sunday, July 7, 1:00 pm
To kick off NAIDOC Week, Professor Howard Morphy will give a free guided tour of the museum’s current exhibitions. Dr. Morphy is the Director of the Research School of Humanities and the Arts at Australian National University and has served as advisor to the Kluge-Ruhe Collection since 1995. He is the author of several books including Ancestral Connections: Art and an Aboriginal System of Knowledge (University of Chicago Press), Aboriginal Art (Phaidon) and, with Marcus Banks, Rethinking Visual Anthropology (Yale University Press).
Reception with Master Printer Michael Kempson and Curator Tess Allas
Friday, July 12, 5:30 – 7:30 pm
Join the Kluge-Ruhe Collection in celebrating the exhibition Black Prints from Cicada Press over wine and hors d’oeuvres. Michael Kempson, Director and Master Printer at Cicada Press, and Tess Allas, lecturer at the College of Fine Arts at the University of New South Wales, will be present to discuss the exhibition and the importance of NAIDOC week for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Aboriginal Flag Printmaking Workshop
Saturday, July 13, 1:00 – 3:00 pm
Make your own Aboriginal flag! In this family workshop, learn about the printmaking process from Michael Kempson and the significance of the Aboriginal flag from Tess Allas. Each participant will leave with their own print of the flag.
On June 20th the Kluge-Ruhe Collection will host its first Night at the Museum, an opportunity to explore the museum’s current exhibitions after hours and enjoy the best food and music in Charlottesville this summer! With food trucks (The Australian Pie Guy, Got Dumplings?, Carpe Donut), beer from Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company, and music from local band, The Judy Chops, this event is not to be missed!
Admission is $5 for nonmembers, and members of the museum get in free. Not a member? Now is your chance to become one! A special membership offer of $25 per household will be available at the door. In addition to free admission to Night at the Museum all summer long, you’ll receive other great benefits of membership: a 10% discount in our gift shop, invitations to special events and receptions with artists, and advanced notice of upcoming programs.
Night at the Museum will take place on the third Thursday of each month this summer through September:
June 20 – The Judy Chops
July 18 – Downbeat Project
August 15 – The Hill and Wood
September 19 – The Dericks
In 1988 at the Asia Society Galleries in New York, an exhibition titled Dreamings: The Art of Aboriginal Australia changed the way Americans viewed Aboriginal art. Dreamings was pivotal in defining Aboriginal art as contemporary fine art, and as a result, several American collectors including John Kluge were inspired to create world class collections. In the past year, two of these collections appeared in major exhibitions at Seattle Art Museum and the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College, demonstrating the growing significance of Aboriginal art to audiences worldwide.
On June 11 at 7 p.m., the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection will host After the Dreamings – 25 Years of Australian Aboriginal Art in the U.S., a moderated discussion with Françoise Dussart and Wally Caruana, two leading figures in the study of Aboriginal art.
“We will explore the impact of the Dreamings exhibition and the changes that have happened in the years since,” said Margo Smith, Director and Curator of the Kluge-Ruhe Collection. “Contemporary Aboriginal art today is very different from 1988 when the Dreamings exhibition was considered cutting edge. Dussart and Caruana can shed a lot of light on how this change occurred and what it means for Aboriginal art.”
Françoise Dussart is a Professor of Anthropology & Women’s Studies at the University of Connecticut. She has conducted field work with Warlpiri people in Yuendumu, NT over the past 30 years and was instrumental in the development of art production in Central Australia. She served on the curatorial committee for Dreamings: The Art of Aboriginal Australia and is the author of La Peinture Des Aborigenes D’Australie (Éditions Parenthèses, 1993) and The politics of ritual in an aboriginal settlement: kinship, gender, and the currency of knowledge (Smithsonian, 2000). Dussart recently contributed an essay to the catalogue for Crossing Cultures: The Owen and Wagner Collection of Contemporary Aboriginal Australian Art which is on exhibition at the Toledo Museum of Art through July 14, 2013.
Wally Caruana was Senior Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art at the National Gallery of Australia from 1984 to 2001, during which time he oversaw the development of one of the most important collections of Indigenous Australian art in a public museum. Caruana is the author of several publications including Aboriginal Art published by Thames and Hudson in 1993 (third edition 2012). Recently Caruana co-curated Ancestral Modern: The Kaplan –Levi Collection of Australian Aboriginal Art at the Seattle Art Museum.
Reservations are required. Please call 434-244-0234 or email email@example.com.
The Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia, in partnership with Australia Council for the Arts, has awarded six residencies over the next three years to artists David Bosun, Nici Cumpston, Bronwyn Bancroft, Marshall Bell, Ricardo Idagi and Bianca Beetson. The recipients were announced at the 6th National Indigenous Arts Awards at the Sydney Opera House, Monday, May 27, 2013. Australia Council will provide partial funding for each residency and supervised the application process. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board Chair, Lee-Ann Tjunypa Buckskin said, “We are thrilled to build such an important international bridge and look forward to the benefits not only for the artists involved but for Indigenous people and cultures in Australia and globally.”
Each four-week residency includes an exhibition at the Kluge-Ruhe Collection and the opportunity to participate in the academic life of the University of Virginia through a variety of programs and collaborative projects. Kluge-Ruhe Director Margo Smith said, “The recipients are all highly accomplished artists whose areas of expertise range from sculpture to printmaking, painting and photography. Each artist will contribute significantly to our community of learning and the student experience at U.Va.”
David Bosun (Mualgal), from Moa Island in the Torres Strait, will undertake the first Australia Council residency in September 2013. He will work with students to carve Mualgal ceremonial poles that both depict and contain the spirits of ancestral beings. An expert printmaker working with linoleum and wood cut processes, Bosun will participate in a print workshop with U.Va. students and faculty.
Nici Cumpston (Barkindji) is a photographer who is also curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art at the Art Gallery of South Australia in Adelaide. Cumpston will demonstrate her technique for making hand-colored photographs and create new work focused on the central Virginia environment.
Bronwyn Bancroft (Bundjalung) from New South Wales will expand on the painting techniques and conceptual train of thought developed in her DNA and Linear Linkages series. These works are representative of her connection to country and cultural heritage.
Marshall Bell (Kamilaroi/Yimin) from Brisbane will use the iconography of southeast Australia to revive cultural knowledge that has been concealed by colonization. He will develop a new body of paintings and construct site-specific sculptural projects with U.Va. students.
Ricardo Idagi (Meriam) from Murray Island in the Torres Strait is a sculptor and ceramic artist who will develop new work focused on identity and cultural difference. Idagi’s project involves examining the struggles shared by African Americans and Indigenous Australians in the area of civil rights.
Bianca Beetson (Kabi Kabi/Gabbi Gabbi and Waradjuri) will explore the colonial history of Virginia to develop a greater understanding of its effects on Virginia’s indigenous people. This research will inform Beetson’s artistic practice, which includes painting, photography, sculpture, textiles and new media.
“The knowledge and skills of this group of artists extends far beyond the studio,” added Smith. “We are looking forward to creating many programs across disciplines to involve as many students as possible in these residencies.”
The Kluge-Ruhe Collection began offering artist residencies in 2011 and has hosted artists Reko Rennie, Ricky Maynard, Judy Watson, Vernon Ah Kee and Yhonnie Scarce. The extended length of the Australia Council residencies will allow for more expansive creative projects and prolonged engagement with students in a variety of disciplines.
For its summer exhibition the Kluge-Ruhe Collection has partnered with Cicada Press to showcase the work of Australian Aboriginal artists working in the printmaking medium.
Cicada Press is an educationally focused printmaking workshop at the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales (COFA UNSW) in Sydney that places emphasis on open dialogue and the importance of lived experience in learning. Since 2006 Michael Kempson, director of Cicada Press, and Tess Allas, curator of Black Prints, have invited emerging and established Aboriginal artists to explore printmaking as an artistic practice in the form of workshops and residencies. Some of the artists were experienced printmakers, while others explored the medium for the first time. The result is an eclectic but meaningful exhibition addressing the contemporary Aboriginal experience in Australia today, by artists such as Gordon Hookey, Vernon Ah Kee, Reko Rennie and Laurel Nannup.
The title Black Prints is a word play on the Australian child’s summer obsession of collecting cicada carcasses. While ‘Greengrocers’ are the most common species of cicada, many of them can be traded for just one of the rarely found, but highly prized ‘Black Prince.’ Fittingly, spring 2013 marks the emergence of 17-year cicadas in our area.
The exhibition is part of the Kluge-Ruhe Collection’s celebration of NAIDOC week. NAIDOC (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee) week is a national Australian celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and an opportunity to recognize the contributions of Indigenous Australians in various fields. Details on programs celebrating NAIDOC week will be released in late May.
The public is invited for a reception to celebrate the opening of Black Prints from Cicada Press, along with the reopening of the museum’s permanent exhibition Past Forward >> Contemporary Aboriginal Art, on Friday, May 31 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm.