Art galleries across the nation are transforming their bricks and mortar creative spaces into virtual theatres to bring art and exploration into our lives while we sit out the arduous task of social distancing and have a go at navigating a new world order.
In this roundup of online exhibitions, you are invited to immerse yourself in Aboriginal culture, stories and art across painting, photography, glasswork and jewellery by leading established, mid-career and emerging Indigenous artists from around Australia.
Nothing can beat the experience of seeing art in person, but at times like these we must engage in the next best thing and thanks to technology we can. Explore away!
Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative this year partnered with Create NSW, ACON, Macquarie University and Young Henry’s to bring their annual Mardi Gras Exhibition to the fore. ‘Diamonds in the Rough’ continues to celebrate the glitz and glamour of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras season via the gallery’s virtual exhibition platform with a particular focus on the lived experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTQI people and artists in NSW. Artists include Jai Walker, Jessica Johnson, Luke Close, Arone Meeks and Ella Noah Bancroft, to name only a few.
Raft Artspace brings ‘Kinara Mimi – Our Story’ into the digital realm with a vibrant showcase of works by artists from Mimili Maku Arts centre on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands in the remote North-West of South Australia. Mimili Maku is home to Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara people living and working together. The artists are proud of their achievements at Mimili Maku and want to show the world, with this exhibition, how their business unites their community and creates opportunities by drawing strength from intergenerational cultural knowledge and the powers of their creative practice.
‘Ngura Kunpu Kanyintjaku – Keeping Our Country Strong’ at Alcaston Gallery features a wonderful arrangement of large-scale paintings in bold designs and brilliant fusions of colour by artist Barbara Mbitjana Moore that depict powerful visual perspectives of the artist’s memories of her beloved Anmatyerre country. Moore is an Anmatyerre woman of the Ti Tree community, which lies 190km’s north of Alice Springs in Central Australia. The artist moved to the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in the remote north west of South Australia with her husband 20 years ago. Now widowed, Moore is a member of the Amata community, as well as Tjala Arts centre. The exhibition catalogue is available to view here.
Since 2001, aligning with International Women’s Day, Vivien Anderson Gallery has honoured an annual exhibition by Indigenous Australian women artists in celebration of the contribution they make to Australian and international arts and culture. ‘The Women’s Show’ features photographic assemblages by Hayley Millar Baker, Maree Clarke’s glass river reed and seed pod necklaces, modelled on traditional welcome necklaces, and Naomi Hobson’s photographic series A Warrior without a Weapon, highlights the men and boys of Coen, Cape York reviving the ancient floral adornments that honour their ancestor spirit, the Orchid Man. Spinifex Hill Studio artist Lorna Dawson visualises the humble water tower that looks over her suburban streetscape, while Papunya Tjupi artist, Maureen Poulson Napangardi exhibits her painting Kapi Tjukurrpa, Kalipinypa, and artist Maringka Baker of Tjungu Palya presents Minyma Kutjara Tjukurrpa, among the works of several other artists.
‘Linear’ at the Powerhouse Museum explores Aboriginal songlines, lineage and cultural legacy through the creativity of leading Indigenous arts practitioners, alongside artworks and objects from the museum’s collection, and includes Ngarinyin Elder, David Mowaljarlai’s visual map of lines that represent the ties that bind this country together in the cultural, spiritual and physical sense. Read more and see artist videos here Maree Clarke, Lorraine Connelly-Northey, Mikaela Jade, Nicole Monks, Mr Ngallametta Jnr, Mr Ngallametta Snr, Glenda Nicholls, Wayne Quilliam, Lucy Simpson, Bernard Singleton, Lynette Wallworth and Vicki West.
At the National Gallery of Victoria the exhibition ‘Marking Time: Indigenous Art from the NGV’ “looks at the persistence of images, signs or text painted or drawn on a range of surfaces in Indigenous Australia, from ancient times until now. The impulse to draw and make images and symbols is deeply embedded in Indigenous cultures throughout the world and is fundamental to the human experience,” writes Judith Ryan author of the exhibition essay. Read about individual works here and take the virtual tour here.