Aboriginal art today! provides those who are keen to know more about this young and dynamic art movement a fascinating overview of the evolution of contemporary Aboriginal art from around 1970 right up to the most recent developments. The various regions and art centres are explored in detail, against a backdrop of historical events which played a crucial role in the development of contemporary Aboriginal art.
The exhibition is particularly significant as all the work featured comes from Dutch collections. As far back as the 17th century, ships from the Dutch East India Company bound for the Orient carried all kinds of Aboriginal artefacts from Australia back to the Netherlands for their customers. So it is probably no wonder that the Netherlands is home to a number of important collections of Aboriginal art. Besides the museum collection of AAMU, these include the collections of Aboriginal art of the Groninger Museum, the Wereldmuseum Rotterdam, the University Museum Groningen and the Nijmeegs Volkenkundig Museum. AAMU also has access to various private collections which have been loaned to the museum on a long-term basis. This is the first time that key works from these collections have been brough together in one exhibition.
Artists in the exhibition
This exhibition will of course feature those artists who have grown to become icons of Australian Aboriginal art. One of these great names is Emily Kame Kngwarrey, who represented Australia posthumously at the 1997 Venice Biennale. John Mawurndjul received international acclaim for his imposing tree bark paintings. Rover Thomas, from the Kimberley, broke away from traditions with his innovative style of painting. Together with Trevor Nickolls he was the first Aboriginal artist to exhibiti at the Venice Biennale in 1990.
Michael Riley was a photographer and filmmaker and co-founcer of the Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative that gave an important boost to the development of contemporary Aboriginal art in the 1990s. Wakartu Cory Surprise is an artist who is making waves at the moment. She was a prize winner at the Western Australian Indigenous Art Awards and her work has recently been added to the AAMU collection.