Published 01 December 2023
Aven Noah Jnr., Peggy Kasabad Lane and Teho Ropeyarn with Hamish Sawyer
In Conversation: Robert Fielding and Angus Webb with Lisa Slade
A conference about Indigenous arts and crafts was held in 1999 and was a useful sounding board for issues from the new Label of Authenticity and copyright, to the new Goods and Services Tax and art in cyberspace.
Published March 2000
The economics of indigenous art is analysed in detail in relation to production, collection and distribution, consumption, developments in the 1990s, prospects for the next decade, tourist art, protection of intellectual property, quality control, authenticity and leadership.
Queensland artist Judy Watson spent three months in Melbourne on a commission for a zinc wall around 50 metres long for the Bunjilaka gallery at the new Museum Melbourne. Watson used motifs relating to Aboriginal material culture in the etched panels of this work.
The introduction of a Label of Authenticity has some problems for contemporary urban Aboriginal artists who feel once again that they are being asked to confirm their status. Another issue is that any indigenous person can apply for the Label regardless of the integrity of their art practice. Is the Label too blunt an instrument to be useful to most artists?
In late 1984 Walala Tjapaltjarri and other Pintupi tribespeople walked out of the Gibson desert in WA and met Europeans for the first time. Within a few years Walala adapted his traditional ground and body painting to painting on canvas and was filmed by Robert Hughes for his TV series Beyond the Fatal Shore.
Broome is a town in WA with a long history of many cultures living and working together. It is the home of a vibrant Indigenous music industry, its most famous sons being the Pigram brothers and Jimmy Chi, author of the musicals Bran Nue Day and Corrugation Road . Magabala Books is flourishing, and the Stompen' Ground Festival is gaining in strength and reputation.
The government policy of separating Indigenous children from their parents was still in force until the 1970s in some states. Indigenous artists who have recently begun depicting these events include Julie Dowling, Gordon Syron, John Packham, Rea and Brenda Croft. Their work has been part of the uncovering of the hidden history of these children of which many non-indigenous Australians were quite ignorant until the mid 1990s.
Tributes to two painters from Ramingining in Arnhem Land, George Milpurrurru and David Malangi who helped to place this region on the map. Paintings were included in the 1979 Sydney Biennale. The iconography, style of painting and the public response to their work and interaction with the wider art world is discussed. Both of these major artists died during the 1990s after careers of around four decades.
A tribute to the Western Australian artist Rover Thomas who died in 1998 aged around 72. After a full life spent as a stockman and an important leader of ceremonial life through the Kurirr-Kurirr dance cycle in the Warmun community, in 1982 he began establishing a new mode of painting based on Kimberly rock art. His bold and original painting depicts the land and the massacres that took place there up to the 1950s. The National Gallery of Australia accorded him a retrospective exhibition Roads Cross in 1994.
A chronicle of a spate of so-called 'Aboriginal art scandals' which happened in the late 1990s, some of which involved white artists passing off work as Aboriginal. The custom amongst indigenous artists of family members working with an artist on paintings creates problems for the western art market and leads to claims of fraud. The media is often guilty of distorting and sensationalising events. The newly launched Label of Authenticity enters the scene.
A tribute to the Pintupi painter Yala Yala Gibbs Tjungurrayi born c.1928 in the region of Kintore and died in 1998. He was a strongly traditional man and after migrating to Papunya he was encouraged by Geoff Bardon to take up painting. His works, mainly the Tingari stories to do with the ceremonial stories of ancestral men, were acquired by collections in Australia and internationally.