UQ Art Museum Public Programs: 'Western Desert art: another story' public lecture.
- Full Description:
- Western Desert art is now agreed to have begun in 1971 at Papunya. Indeed it might be argued that this idea has achieved a mythical status. Recently more firsts have been claimed in connection with Western Desert painting. Artists on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands have been hailed as new painters. These stories do not necessarily accord with the artists’ own view of their work and life.
Ernabella, set up in 1937 as an enlightened Presbyterian Mission to receive Indigenous people living in the southern region of the Western Desert, boasted a craft room for women founded in 1948. This organization, now owned and controlled by the artists, is known as the mother of all subsequent art centres across the APY Lands. It’s 64-year story mirrors the vicissitudes of more recently founded art centres.
Almost all the senior APY artists recently hailed as ‘new’ have previous experience of making work to sell to strangers. Women artists worked in the craft room as young girls while the male painters made artefacts for sale. In this lecture I foreground contemporary APY artists and their own valuation of skill and knowledge as prerequisites for art making set against the demands of the art market and the paintings in the exhibition 'Desert Country'. The material used in the lecture is drawn from various periods; art made in the present, in the late 1980s, that watershed year in Aboriginal affairs 1971, and in the early 60s. My aim is to illuminate the trajectory of survival for a particular Western Desert ‘art school’ that periodically finds acclaim in the art market.
Diana Young is an anthropologist who carried out her doctoral fieldwork on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands in the late 1990s. She has continued working with Anangu. Her research originally centred on the role of novel material colours (in clothing, paints , dyes, foods, cars) in reconfiguring a colonized society. The material in this lecture is drawn from a book on the history of Ernabella Arts that she is completing, to be published by Wakefield Press. This book has been a collaborative project with Ernabella artists and has been supported by AIATSIS and the Gordon Darling Foundation. Dr Diana Young is the Director of the UQ Anthropology Museum and lectures in the School of Social Science at The University of Queensland.
Free. All welcome.
Refreshments will be served after the lecture
RSVP Tuesday 2 October
(07) 3365 3046
The exhibition 'Desert Country' curated by Nici Cumpston continues until 21 October. Find out more http://www.artmuseum.uq.edu.au
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