Event held on May 28

Heart of Country

Provided by:

Event runs from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Daily, until 12/06/2022


The "heart" of this exhibition is the relationship to Country expressed by four generations of Indigenous artists from Arnhem Land and beyond. Core works come from a private collection of bark paintings assembled by Donna-Marie Kelly and Andrew Dyer, featuring some of the finest painters of Arnhem Land– Yirawala, Bobby Badjarray Ngainmirra and Wally Mandarrk. Alongside the continuity of tradition in bark painting, there is also openness to innovation. In recent decades, since women began producing bark paintings in quantity, the aesthetic is shifting in surprising ways. The cohort of women is represented by major works–the Yunupingu sisters, Nongirrna Marawili and Mulkun Wirrpanda, for example. By and large, bark paintings propagate ancestral imagery, expressing myriad layers of relationship, custodianship and continuous connection between people and Country. Prefacing the exhibition, contemporary works by Garrwa artist Jack Green invoke the sacrosanctity of his ancestral land but highlight the trauma of its usurpation and devastation by corporate Australia. A selection of bark paintings from the ANU Art Collection will augment the show. Anne Martin, Director of the Tjabal Centre at ANU, describes our collection of Indigenous art as a tangible reminder of "country that our students have travelled from, where ANU academics have walked on country guided by artists who share the richness and knowledge of their ancestral lands."