Stand (monument) (from 'Mis/perceptions' series) 1999
Queensland Art Gallery Foundation
Collection: Queensland Art Gallery
Blak Insights: Contemporary Indigenous Art from the Queensland Art Gallery Collection
3 July - 3 October 2004
Gallery 2, 3, 13, 14, 17, Pelican Pool Lounge & Watermall
The Queensland Art Gallery's 'Blak Insights' exhibition presents a fresh perspective on Indigenous Australian art. Featuring more than 140 works displayed over 7 exhibition spaces, 'Blak Insights' is a unique chance to view the scope and depth of the Gallery's contemporary Indigenous Collection, acquired over the past 20 years. It showcases some of the finest contemporary Indigenous art produced in this country by artists such as Tracey Moffatt, Destiny Deacon, Gordon Bennett, Richard Bell, Anmanari Brown, Djambawa Marawili, Minnie Pwerle and Ken Thaiday.
Photography, film and video
The success of urban Indigenous artists Tracey Moffatt, Michael Riley and Destiny Deacon has given inspiration to younger artists. Their work dispels outmoded stereotypes of what constitutes 'Aboriginal art' by embracing media such as photography, film and video. In 'Blak Insights', works by these artists are displayed alongside works by emerging artists Darren Siwes and Brook Andrew.
Through investigation, humour and biting wit, contemporary Indigenous artists who address sensitive political or social issues bring fresh insight to Australian art and life.
Richard Bell is one of the most politically abrasive of the contemporary Queensland artists to achieve national recognition. The winner of last year's prestigious Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, his work explores both Indigenous and non-Indigenous concerns. The work of Gordon Hookey, Fiona Foley and Gordon Bennett is also featured.
Artists from Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory are renowned for their painting styles which are often based on sacred ceremonial body designs called miny'tji.
New works featured in 'Blak Insights' by Galuma Maymuru (the daughter of the great Narritjin) and Djambawa Marawili represent an exciting shift in contemporary painting by Yolgnu artists. Another featured artist is Larrtjanga Ganambarr (c.1932-2000). His bark painting Balirlira and the Macassans c.1958 conveys the history of contact between the Yolgnu people of north-east Arnhem Land and visitors from Indonesia, predating the arrival of European ships.
Central and Western Desert
New expressions in visual arts are also to be found in one of the most remote areas of the country. The Irrunytju group of artists from the Central Desert created much interest with their first exhibition in Perth in 2001.
In contrast to the minimal tones of contemporary paintings from the Western Desert, Irrunytju artists revel in colour. Anmanari Brown, one of the senior artists in this group, paints her deep knowledge of the landscape and demonstrates a very individual interpretation of the Dreaming.
The great Albert Namatjira's adoption of the European medium of watercolour landscape painting remains an inspiration to contemporary artists from the Hermannsburg region of Central Australia.
Several of the Hermannsburg Potters have begun translating their images onto canvas, and the Gallery's recently acquired paintings by Clara Inkamala, Rahel Ungwanaka, Lindy Rontji and Irene Entata are included in 'Blak Insights', together with a selection of Hermannsburg pots. The artists depict aspects of traditional life but also important stories from their community today.
Torres Strait Islands
In an exciting development, Torres Strait Island artists are exploring new concepts and media to represent their traditional song and dance. Prior to the arrival of Christian missionaries in the nineteenth century, elaborate ceremonial masks were skilfully moulded, incised and carved from turtle shell and wood. Today, dance continues to develop as a means of cultural expression and is now imbued with renewed energy and performed with innovative sculptural objects.