Blogs and Feeds, Old and New

It’s been a while since I’ve updated the links in the sidebar on the right, so this weekend I’ll redress that failure.

First of all, let me introduce a blog that I’ve been following for a long time, with much pleasure. Sur les pas d’une collection is the work of a dedicated enthusiast of les arts premiers, as they say in French. Entirely appropriate for the best Aboriginal art blog out of France, and one which has been operating since 2006. Bertrand is passionate about African, Inuit, and Aboriginal art, and is a traveller and photographer whose interests stray beyond the usual scope of things that I discuss here. But I enjoy every one of his postings, be they celebrations of the art of Bidyadanga or Maningrida or Papunya Tula, or records of his travels through African and Asian deserts (the image shows him collecting firewood in the Sahara) or the ruins of Alexandria. Plus, I get to keep the edge of my French language skills honed a bit. But even if you can’t read French, you can partake of the pleasure through Google’s translateservice. Bertrand’s lyrical investigations of particular works of art are deeply personal, insightful, meditative. As the tag line of his blog promises, you’ll be following in the steps of a collector as he learns about the art, follows his interest in both emerging and established artists, and shares his enthusiasm for the discovery of a contemporary art replete with meaning and innovation. His cross-cultural interests enrich his observations, so don’t skip his explorations of Inuit and African art as well as the familiar Aboriginal paintings.

A newer blog that I’ve recently begun following (it’s been online since March 2009) is Alice Online. This one too has a scope larger than Aboriginal affairs, but given its focus on Alice Springs and environs, Indigenous matters crop up regularly. Although I don’t always agree (we’re poles apart on the recent news about Chris Simon’s activities with regard to Papunya Tula), I find Alice Online to be a sympathetic source of good information. There’s been coverage of the Kwementyaye Ryder story, a review (with video interviews) of Margaret Kemarre Turner’s new book Iwenhe Tyerrtye: what it means to be an Aboriginal person (IAD Press, 2010), and moments of Centralian serendipity like a video recording of Alice Springs cellist Nic Hempel performing Bach’s Suite No. 1 in G Major in the old Lutheran church at Ntaria. In honor of the sesquicentennial of John McDouall Stuart’s explorations of the Centre, editor Dave Richards is publishing on ongoing series called “Where’s Mr Stuart?” that charts the explorer’s journey in photographs, maps, and narrative.

If you’re looking to keep up with what’s been published in the way of Indigenous Australian Resources, you should consider subscribing to the news feed of New Titles acquired by the Library at the Queensland University of Technology. Around the first of each month you’ll receive a blast of citations for thirty or forty new acquisitions. It’s an especially rich source of information on videos and children’s books, and thus may be very useful for teachers. Lots of electronic books here, too, although you need a QUT login to access the full contents of most of them.

Another useful news feed I’ve taken to scanning lately comes from the Working Group on Aboriginal Rights. Once or twice a week they publish a round-up of news stories on a given topic that serves as an instant bibliography of timely reports. Recent posts have focused on the new National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, the Muckaty nuclear waste dump, the expansion of income management to get around the challenges posed by the Racial Discrimination Act to the NTER scheme, and the controversy over reparations to the Stolen Generations.

If readers have other suggestions for ways on keeping up with Aboriginal art and culture, I’d love to hear about them. Click on the feedback link below and send me your ideas.

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