Monday, June 30, 2008

Indigenous Art

The Indigenous art of Australia is the part of oldest continuing living culture in the world and one of the two major art traditions operating within Australia today. The National Gallery of Australia collects art of the highest artistic merit and excellence created by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (hereafter referred to as Indigenous) to document and represent the ongoing and developing traditions of art which reflect the diversity of Indigenous experience over time and from every region of the continent.

The collection aims to document the history of Indigenous art from the earliest collectable works to the most recent. Given the dynamic and innovative nature of Indigenous artistic practice, the Gallery aims to keep abreast of contemporary developments across all art forms including all media used by contemporary Indigenous artists.

Key works from the National Gallery of Australia’s collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art are exhibited in the Loti & Victor Smorgon Gallery on entrance level and in the broader context of Australian and international art throughout the building.

Among key Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art works in the collection is The Aboriginal Memorial (1987–88), an installation of 200 painted hollow log coffins by the artists of Ramingining in Arnhem Land. The Memorial, a collaborative work involving 43 artists, is dedicated to all Indigenous Australians who have lost their lives defending their country since non-Indigenous settlement.

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