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.