Category Archives: Books

Streets of Papunya

Having thoroughly enjoyed Vivien Johnson’s previous book, Once Upon a Time in Papunya, her attempt to chronicle the rise of Papunya Tula Artists, I didn’t really think twice when Rosina Di Marzo of New South Books reached out to ask … Continue reading

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Explicating Bark Painting

Two years ago, during the turning of 2011 into 2012, I took my customary holiday break from serious thinking and produced a pair of posts in which I looked back at what I thought to be some of the core … Continue reading

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Local Color Purple

Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone? I had feared that Joni Mitchell’s rhetorical question would be dead on once again when I heard that Campbell Newman was slashing the arts … Continue reading

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Inventing the Contemporary

2013 was a year of many and varied accomplishments for me.  Not the least of these was reading Ian McLean’s anthology How Aborigines Invented the Idea of Contemporary Art: writings on Aboriginal contemporary art (Power Publications, 2011) from cover to cover. … Continue reading

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The Grace of God

“How to paint the grace of God?” That is the surprising question with which Wally Caruana opens the essays that introduce this extraordinary compilation of Old Masters: Australia’s greatest bark artists (National Museum of Australia, 2013). A few years back, … Continue reading

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Vivid Histories, Living Memories

The latest in a stunning series of international exhibitions of Indigenous Australia art opened on Octover 16, 2013 at the Musée d’Acquitaine in the French city of Bordeaux.  It is called Mémoires Vives: une histoire de l’art aborigène.  In the … Continue reading

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There’s an App for That

I bought my iPad about two and a half years ago, not long before my last trip to Australia.  It was the perfect solution to hauling half a dozen cheap paperbacks across the globe and discarding them in a series … Continue reading

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Aboriginal Academy

I’m beginning to wonder if naming something “Australia” is a bad idea.  I’m not quibbling about the continent and country.  But there was that Baz Luhrmann film that attracted a lot of flack.  And now there’s this show over in … Continue reading

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A Bloke’s Own Story

Until recently, I knew of Bruce Pascoe chiefly as one of the commentators who added notes of scholarship to Rachel Perkins’ SBS series First Australians and as the author of The Little Red Yellow Black Book guide to Indigenous culture.  In … Continue reading

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In Poetry, History

Few recent books of poetry by an Indigenous author have made such headlines as Ali Cobby Eckermann’s Ruby Moonlight (Magabala Books, 2012).  In truth, I can’t think of another.  Eckermann was awarded a black&write! Indigenous Writing Fellowship by the State Library … Continue reading

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