Tag Archives: Yolngu

Video Culture / Museum Culture

A pair of new exhibitions opened this past week at the University of Queensland Anthropology Museum.  One extends established queries about the nature of objects stored in museums and their relationships to the people they purport to represent.  The other makes … 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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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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Yolngu Songmen: Rorruwuy Manikay

Last week I shared a couple of clips of Yolngu rock ‘n’ roll from the Seven Star Band, a bunch of rowdy young rockers (and I say that with love in my heart). This week, I want to turn to … Continue reading

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Yolngu Songmen: Seven Star Band

Each year at Christmastime I try to kick back a little and instead of putting together an essay, I try to offer a little lighter entertainment: photographs, or short reading lists, or something similar.  This year, it’s time for some … Continue reading

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Gamechanger

It’s been a decade now since Buku-Larrnggay Mulka and Bill Gregory presented Buwayak: Invisibility at the Annandale Galleries in Sydney, an exhibition that heralded an extraordinary new direction in painting from Yirrkala.  If you look at Yolngu painting from just a few … Continue reading

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Rakuny ga Walnga

Undeniably, the best part of writing a blog, every week for eight years now (I’m astonished to realize), are the introductions it affords me to people around the world, virtually, and especially when I land on the ground in Australia. … Continue reading

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The Poetry of Geography

I grew up near the ocean.  For the first eighteen years of my life a twenty-minute walk would bring me to docks and lapping waves, sand and seaweed and salt air.  I didn’t know how much a part of me … Continue reading

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Larrakirtj: Encyclopedia of the Yolngu

On our first trip to Australia in 1990, still largely ignorant of Aboriginal art (despite the trip being inspired in large part by the Dreamings exhibition seen at the Asia Society in New York CIty two years earlier), we hit … Continue reading

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Gurtha

Gurtha is fire. The fire is inextinguishable. One story tells how Baru, the ancestral crocodile man, was camped in a bark hut with his wife, the blue-tongued lizard.  She was cooking snails over the fire, but after an argument,  she … Continue reading

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