A review of the Lam Collection of Aboriginal Art:
For those living outside the Lone Star state, the idea of organizing a significant show of contemporary Aboriginal art within the regional center of San Antonio might not seem apparent. Such reservations melt upon entering the newly installed Lam Collection of Aboriginal Art, inspired by the creative spirit of philanthropist and art patron May Lam and orchestrated by the University of Texas at San Antonio, located at the 1604 campus some 22 miles northwest of the city’s center.
Traveling there by car, one gets an immediate sense of the great expanse of Texas, open sky, and growing pains evidenced by a highway system struggling to support tremendous growth. As one engineers this modern city, coping with realities of congestion, construction and infrastructure repair, she or he is keenly aware of the culture of American suburbia.
The 20-minute drive is a paradoxical prelude to the new collection, in that it forces one to think about distinctions between environments, as well as personal relationships with environment. The experience functions as a reminder of connections between land and mankind, and thus invites thought on how one impacts the other. This idea of a terrain’s ability to expand human experience, or in the case of The Lam Collection, enhance it, is what resonates upon entering UTSA’s Main Gallery.
Through the display of approximately 50 works of painting, sculpture, and basketry, one intuitively grasps a sense of Aboriginal Australia as artist motherland and formative landscape. This is especially true for the non-traveler, for the person who has not yet glimpsed the extensive coastline, hiked any of her arid, rocky, or forested terrains comprising the four major areas where Aboriginal work is found.
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