I visited an amazing show of paintings, sculpture and photography at Dartmouth's Hood Museum of Art. Over one hundred works of contemporary Indigenous Australian art were featured. While traditionally Australian Aboriginal art was impermanent in nature (bodies, natural surfaces and sand were decorated), today indigenous artists are applying their traditional techniques and styles to canvas. While this art appears abstract to the untrained eye, hidden within these forms are ancestral narratives of the Dreaming and representations of spiritually significant locations. The images pulsed with the ephemeral vibration of existence. I was moved by the amazing detail, power and beauty of the art and impressed by the perspective of the curators.

A quote from the show exemplified the arrogance that has prevented western culture from valuing the teachings of indigenous peoples. "Within these various representations are incredible systems of knowledge that have contributed to the physical and spiritual survival of Aboriginal people for over fifty thousand years. However beginning with the colonization of Australia in 1788, this knowledge has been largely devalorized by people who have chosen not to learn its cultural signification or sophistication." Click for a link to the show.

Click thumbnail to view. Top row: entire image / bottom row: closeup of corresponding image.

Comment