Indigenous art is centre stage at AAG - Art Collector

Christian Thompson, Black Gum 2, 2008. Lambda print, 100 x 100cm. Courtesy: the artist and Michael Reid Gallery, Sydney

22 January 2014 | This year visitors to Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki (AAG) will have a rare opportunity to experience two exhibitions showcasing indigenous art from Australia and New Zealand. Five Maori Painters opens to the public from 22 February 2014, followed by the launch of My Country: Contemporary Art from Black Australia from 28 March 2014. For almost three months these exhibitions will run concurrently at the gallery - providing the chance to experience contemporary indigenous art from these geographical neighbors.

Ruby Tjangawa Williamson, Nita Williamson and Suzanne Armstrong, Ngayuku ngura (My country) Puli murpu (Mountain range), 2012. Courtesy: the artists and Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane

My Country: Contemporary Art from Black Australia is an adaptation of the exhibition that ran at the Queensland Art Gallery| Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) in 2013. Curated by Bruce McClean, QAGOMA’s curator of Indigenous Australian Art, the exhibition features almost 100 works by 46 indigenous Australian artists including Sally Gabori, Vernon Ah Kee, Destiny Deacon and Christian Thompson.

According to QAGOMA’s director Chris Saines, “Many of the issues explored by these works are confronting and controversial. An exhibition like this is an important forum for discussion, debate and education, and we are proud that we can share it with an international audience.”

Robyn Kahukiwa, War, 2013, acrylic and oil on canvas. Courtesy: the artist and Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki

Five Maori Painters will showcase the work of senior artists Kura Te Waru Rewiri, Emily Karaka and Robyn Kahukiwa alongside the work of the next-generation of painters Star Gossage and Saffronn Te Ratana. Ngahiraka Mason, AAG’s curator of Indigenous Art comments: “Maori painting practice is continually evolving, and we’re seeing changes in the way relationships to land and culture are represented and reflected in subject matter and use of medium … Through these works the artists share personal experiences and perspectives, and as a unique grouping, this exhibition presents a energetic survey of Maori painting today.”

Five Maori Painters runs from 22 February to 15 June 2014 and Contemporary Art from Black Australia is on view from 28 March to 20 July 2014. For more information see the AAG website.

Hannah McKissock-Davis

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