PULLMAN – Contemporary Australian Aboriginal Art: From the Collection of Margaret Levi and Robert Kaplan, will be exhibited at the Museum of Art/WSU Oct. 1-Dec. 11.
Levi and Kaplan have a large collection of indigenous Australian art, part of which is on loan to and displayed at the Seattle Art Museum.
An opening reception at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 30, in the Fine Arts building will be followed at 7 p.m. with a lecture by the Kaplans in the auditorium. Susan Kennedy Zeller, associate curator at Brooklyn Museum, will conduct a walk through the exhibit at noon Tuesday, Oct. 5. She will lecture at 5 p.m. in the Fine Arts auditorium.
The exhibit and events are free to the public.
Teachers, educators and students can visit a website built for the exhibition. It explains Australian aboriginal art in general and includes images and videos.
Contemporary Aboriginal art evolved in the 1960s and 70s from the traditions of small indigenous populations living in the tropics and deserts of Australia. It has become a major contemporary art movement recognized through exhibitions and auctions that draw collectors and museums from around the world.
There are approximately 350,000 Aborigines drawn from approximately 150 language groups. Creating art for the marketplace has become a major source of income and a major means of maintaining Aboriginal culture.
Although forms vary among Aboriginal communities, there are important artistic commonalities: painting the body for ceremonies; scarification; an emphasis on performance through dance, song and decoration; the use of symbols to represent key physical formations, events and figures of stories; and gendered forms of expression.
The works in the exhibition reflect knowledge of and commitment to a rich spiritual heritage. Dreaming is an ongoing exchange between the past and present, and dreaming sites remain the primary subject of Aboriginal art even when artists have been introduced to new techniques and materials through interactions with Western institutions and teachers.
The Levi-Kaplan collection was built over many years of travel and study. The collectors have sought out the best work by Aboriginal artists to reveal the diversity, creativity and aesthetic power of one of the most exciting art movements in the world today. The exhibition represents a selective overview of the much larger collection.
Museum of Art hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday, open until 7 p.m. Thursdays and closed Sundays.