The art of remote Australia will be on display at RMIT Gallery when Warlayirti: The Art of Balgo and Garnkiny: Constellations of Meaning open next week in the presence of the art centres' artists.
Mathew Gill Tjupurrula [Mathew Gill], Snake Country [The fight of the snakes] 1986, synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 50.8 x 76.2 cm, Catalogue no. 22, E080666, Acquired 28/4/1987, Australian Museum.
The exhibition and publication Warlayirti: The Art of Balgo (16 September - 8 November) curated by Dr Jacqueline Healy examines the importance of Christianity to the Balgo community as a means of cross-cultural communication and brings together key examples of works from Warlayirti Artists to clearly define the beginnings of this important art movement.
Warlayirti Artists is one of the most successful art centres to emerge from remote area Australia located at Balgo, in the midst of the Tanami desert.
Balgo Hills (Wirrimanu) is the ceremonial hub for several indigenous clans from the Kimberley and Western Desert (Kutjungka) and is on the Luurnpa (kingfisher) Dreaming track.
The exhibition and publication Garnkiny: Constellations of Meaning (16 September - 8 November) curated by Adam Boyd, Anna Crane and Alana Hunt, showcases work from the Gija artists of the Warmun Art Centre in Western Australia, and concerns one Gija narrative - that of the Dreaming Moon man, Garnkiny or Jawoorranyi.
The story of Garnkiny's travels across a vast expanse of Gija country is told and painted by some of Warmun's most revered artists and concerns some of the most serious tenets of Gija Law and most primary of human experiences; death and mortality, love and sex, jealousy and desire, transgression and obligation.
Mabel JULI, Born c.1932 Six Mile on Moolabulla Station, Western Australia, Garnkiny, Natural ochre and pigments on linen, 180 X 120 cm, Courtesy of Warmun Art Centre.
The exhibitions will be opened on Monday, 15 September (6pm-8pm) with an Official Welcome to Country by Colin Hunter, Elder of the Wurundjeri Tribe Council, and addresses by Tony Ellwood, Director of the National Gallery of Victoria, and the Most Rev Christopher A Saunders DD, Bishop of Broome.
RMIT Gallery Director Suzanne Davies said an extremely important aspect of these exhibitions was the engagement with the community of people and artists in the communities.
"The key opening event to celebrate the exhibitions is an examination of Aboriginal art centres and their role as a key foundation stone of the Aboriginal Art market, particularly in remote area Australia," Ms Davies said.
"Such art centres evoke mixed responses, some suggesting their multiple functions; social and cultural within their communities interfere with the business of producing and selling art."
What: Opening of Warlayirti: The Art of Balgo and Garnkiny: Constellations of Meaning
When: Monday, 15 September, 6pm-8pm
Where: RMIT Gallery, 344 Swanston Street Melbourne
The Ursula Hoff Annual Public Lecture 2014: Aboriginal art centres - the good, the bad and the ugly
What: Tuesday, 16 September, 6pm-7 pm
Where: RMIT Storey Hall, 342 Swanston Street, Melbourne
Bookings: (03) 9925 1717
Speakers: Dr Jacqueline Healy, Professor Ian McLean, Sister Alice Dempsey
Gija artists of the Warmun Art Centre in Western Australia and artists from Warlayirti Artists in Balgo will be in Melbourne from Monday, 15 September to Wednesday, 17 September and available for interview with the curators.
For general media enquiries and interviews with artists and curators: Evelyn Tsitas, (03) 9925 1716 or 0418 139 015.