Regular readers of this blog know that last May and June I had the extraordinary good fortune to be selected to participate in a tour of Indigenous community art centres,sponsored by Austrade and the Territory Government. The trip took me the length of the Northern Territory and through the Kimberley (plus an afternoon’s detour to Amata in South Australia) in two weeks’ time. It was an experience of such richness that I still haven’t completed my chronicles of it six months later. (John Howard is partly to blame for that, as the Intervention was announced exactly one week after my return to the US, and I’ve had quite a bit else to write about.)
I was so excited by the opportunity that I didn’t breathe a word of it until I actually arrived in Australia and made my first post from Alice Springs. I thought I would blog about it daily, but I barely managed to write once more during the trip, on arrival in Darwin, and posted a misty-eyed conclusion while waiting in the airport for the flight to Brisbane that was the first leg of my journey home.
And now, my fellow Americans, Austrade has announced that it will be sponsoring another American Collectors Tour in 2008, and they are recruiting applicants to take part. If you are interested in helping to bring an awareness of Aboriginal art to the United States and to support the work of Indigenous artists and art centres, you should seriously consider what I promise you will be an unforgettable, indeed, life-changing experience. The flyer below gives a quick overview of what lies in store, and its two photographs reflect what were for me the essential features of the tour.
First, you will meet artists like the great Paddy Sims and get to hear first-hand what this art means to them. Almost every day brought such amazing opportunities. I met and talked to an unbelievable array of the greats: Makinti Napanangka, Lofty Bardayal, Eubena Nampitjin, Bai Bai Napangardi, Alan and Peggy Griffiths, Mabel Juli, Pedro Wonaemirri and Raelene Kerinauia, George Tjungurrayi, Philip Gudthaykuthay and half the rest of the cast of Ten Canoes.
Second, you will share this experience with a group of fellow enthusiasts whose company will enrich your experience. We were collectors, gallerists, curators, scholars whose involvements with Aboriginal art spanned a few short years to several decades. For two weeks I felt like a college kid on the Grand Tour. Truly.
For more information, download this detailed description of the adventure:Aboriginal Art Collectors Tour, 2008 Detailed Description.pdf