Talking About Aboriginal Art


A set of four videotape programs focusing on contemporary Aboriginal art, based on a series of forums entitled Aboriginal Art in Australian Society, held at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney in 1990.

1. Tradition and Change: Art from the Desert
43 mins
Hetti Perkins introduces some of the contentious issues evolving from the production, promotion, exhibition and marketing of Aboriginal Art. Michael Nelson Jakamarra talks about his art, from the central desert community of Papunya which has been a major centre for art production since 1971 and helped trigger international interest in Aboriginal art. Geoff Bardon talks about his time as a school teacher in Papunya in 1971 where he encouraged the local people to paint their dreamings.

2. Aboriginal Women Artists
50 mins

Banduk Marika talks about her life and art as a woman in a tradition-oriented society like Yirrkala (15 mins). Fiona Foley and Bronwyn Bancroft are aware of their position as role models and of the ways their images reflect the realities of the present generation. From an older generation, Euphemia Bostock speaks about how she and women like her have given strength and direction to the younger generation of Kooris despite the adverse circumstances in which they have had to work.

3. Urban Aboriginal Artists
43 mins

Three artists, all city-based, professionally trained and knowledgeable about Western art, raise issues central to the art-making of urban Aborigines and discuss problems and controversies which surround such art. Michael Riley, Trevor Nickolls and Jeffrey Samuels.

4. Aboriginal Art: Conserving, Exhibiting, Interpreting
62 mins

In recent decades Aboriginal art has increasingly been destined for art museums and major private collections. It has not been totally subsumed into the Western art dealer and museum system but has made curators and art historians ask some profound questions about their practices and policies of collecting and exhibiting art. Featured are Djon Mundine from the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Wally Caruana from the Australian National Gallery and Peter Sutton from the South Australian Museum.

The series comes with a 32 page booklet of Teachers' Notes. This contains portraits, quotes and background information on the artists and other speakers. It also includes a glossary of terms used in the tapes and a map of Australia indicating all the regions mentioned.

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Cost: p.o.a.