California Dreaming

For those of you on the west coast of the United States:

Martumili Artists at Stanford

A Martumili Artists Exhibit

The Thomas Welton Art Gallery at Stanford University

 Opening June 28, 2011

Artists reception June 30, 2011

This exhibit will mark the lived relationships among indigenous Martu of Australia’s Western Desert; their foraging economy, ritual arts, the expression of these on the landscape, and their links to desert biodiversity. The nexus of these relationships is distilled in the concept and practice of waru, which translates as fire. Here, Martu have chosen the title of the exhibit for its many meanings: Martu artists are cultural ambassadors, to spread, like fire, knowledge of their heritage and land. Martu artists hold (kanyirnimpa) ritual rights to burning and are the literal agents of fire, applying fire to their country in the course of their daily foraging practice, resulting in the maintenance of key components of arid grassland biodiversity.

Martumili Artists (the Martu arts cooperative) was established in late 2006 and supports Martu artists in Parnngurr, Kunawarritji, Punmu, Jigalong, Irrungadji (Nullagine) and Parnpajinya (Newman) in Western Australia. Their works reflect the dramatic geography and scale of their homelands in the Great Sandy Desert and Rudall River regions of Western Australia. Martumili Artists represents speakers of Manyjilyjarra, Warnman, Kartujarra, Putijarra and Martu Wangka languages, many of whom experienced first contact with Europeans in the 1960s. The artists include painters, working in acrylics and oils, as well as weavers coiling baskets and sculptors working in wood, grass and wool. Martu artists proudly maintain their creative practices whilst pursuing social and cultural obligations across the Martu homelands.

This exhibit is sponsored through a collaboration between the US National Science Foundation, Martumili Artists and BHP Billiton, Western Australia Department of Culture and the Arts, The Shire of East Pilbara, Martu People Ltd, The Australian Government Office of the Arts, The Bill Lane Center for the American West, Stanford University’s Spatial History Project, the Woods Institute for the Environment, Continuing Studies at Stanford, and Stanford’s Department of Anthropology.

Directions and parking information are available from Stanford University Visitor Information.

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