Ivy League showing for Aboriginal art - Art Collector

Destiny Deacon, Last Laughs, 1994. Lightjet print from polaroid original. Courtesy: the artist and Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College

17 July 2012 | Photographer Destiny Deacon is one of the artists featured in an upcoming exhibition of Aboriginal art in the United States.

Crossing Cultures opens in September at the Hood Museum of Art at the ivy league Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. Over 100 works from the 1970s to the present are included.

The exhibition is drawn from the collection of Will Owen and Harvey Wagner, who donated all of their extensive Aboriginal art holdings to the Hood Museum in 2009 and 2011. The two began collecting Aboriginal art in the 1990s after seeing the Asia Society’s
Dreamings exhibition in 1988, ultimately developing a collection of some 600 pieces.

Curator Stephen Gilchrist has also selected the work of leading figures like John Mawurndjul, Naata Nungurrayi, Michael Riley, Paddy Bedford, Danny Gibson Tjapaltjarri and Doreen Reid Nakamarra in
Crossing Cultures.

“The objects included in this exhibition reference and reinvigorate traditional iconographies, speak to the history and legacy of colonisation, and meaningfully contribute to the growing international discourse on contemporary Indigenous art,” says Gilchrist.

Gilchrist’s comments are reflected in the exhibition press materials, which talk of how
Crossing Cultures “examines how Aboriginal artists have reinvigorated vernacular iconographics and traditions through a modern lens”. It must be gratifying stuff for local collectors like Colin Laverty who have long campaigned to see Aboriginal art presented as contemporary (rather than folk or ethnographic art) on the world stage.

The exhibition opens 15 September 2012 and runs to 13 March 2013.

Jane O'Sullivan

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