Saturday, 2 May - Thursday, 4 June 2009
Paintings by Leading and Emerging Australian Aboriginal Women Artists
In Aboriginal communities throughout Australia, the people speak of "business," an elusive term that touches on traditions, rituals, songs and ceremonies, tribal law, and even the mourning period ("sorry business"). Women's business relates to those rites and roles that are their gender-specific and exclusive province.
Artists paint what they know and what they imagine. Aboriginal women have custody of certain Dreamings or myths as a result of their parental heritage and circumstances of birth. They are schooled in the rituals of childbirth and child-rearing, in the all-important tasks of gathering and preparing food, in sacred and secret ceremonies indigenous to their clans. From their wealth of experience and the ancient wisdom they inherit, they extrapolate imagery, restructure horizons, and recreate known and imagined landscapes for their paintings.
This exhibition includes Eubena Nampitjin's densely-layered and richly-colored evocations of her country in desert reds and oranges, Eunice Napanangka Jack's intricately-colored rainbows of pattern, Dolly Snell's signature "feathered" paintings, Lucy Loomoo's softly-shaded and richly-textured works, Judy Watson Napangardi's vivid abstract landscapes, and Rosella Namok's "finger-paintings," reminiscent of ritual body painting. The show also presents works by emerging artists – paintings of women's ceremonies characterized by exuberant colors and carefully-positioned icons defining their custodial stories.
Francoise Dussart, in Aboriginal Religions in Australia,
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