Hello from Australia!
I’ve now travelled around this beautiful continent for four weeks, by plane, train and automobile, as well as boat and gondola! The Australian Government funded this six week excursion so that I could experience this land and its people first-hand and use what I learn to educate museum visitors about Indigenous Australian art and culture. I’ve driven over 1600 miles and have met over 70 individuals, from senior curators at museums like the National Gallery of Australia to Indigenous artists at remote art centers like Warlukurlangu Artists. I can’t begin to explain how this trip has changed me personally and professionally, but two notions have continued to surface throughout my time here. First, the Kluge-Ruhe Collection has a wide and prominent reputation here and the people for whom we advocate are proud of our existence and appreciative of the work we do. The second is that Indigenous Australian art is a bit like the Grand Canyon: it has been formed over thousands of years and yet is contemporary and dynamic, there is no end to its irresistible visual impact or the intensity of its importance, and those who have experienced it feel that everyone should explore it at some point in their lives.
Yesterday I arrived at an art center called Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Center, from which many of the bark paintings in the Kluge-Ruhe Collection originate. I will be learning about Yolngu culture and discovering how the art center functions. I am so grateful to my colleagues at Kluge-Ruhe and the wider art community for supporting me in this endeavor, and I look forward to bringing back many ideas and memories when I return.