The winter in Newcastle will be immeasurably brightened by 87 paintings from the remotest parts of Australia “ just a tiny part of the art collection of a remarkable couple, Colin and Liz Laverty. It’s been a 20 year labour of love for them, now being doubly celebrated with a magnificent book highlighting the collection (link to news item) and this exhibition. On show is mainly recent Desert art, as Gallery Director, Ron Ramsey explains: It is a lovely show and shows an aspect of the Laverty collection – paintings from remote communities – in considerable depth. The exhibition does not contain the ‘big names’ of Emily and Rover as other exhibitions have shown their work, but it has a wonderful rich collection of newer artists from major painting areas.

The exhibition also does not contain barks as Newcastle, which has an excellent collection of 1970s barks, is planning a separate exhibition of barks next year.

The exhibition was initially curated by Rhana Devenport, Director at Govett Brewster Gallery in New Plymouth, New Zealand, and has been enlarged for Newcastle Region Art Gallery. The additional works have been included for a number of reasons: an Australian audience has been more exposed to Aboriginal work than NZers, and the additions take this into account; one work was too large to tour to NZ, one work directly relates to the newly published book.

This exhibition has been made possible through the generosity of Colin and Liz Laverty. Their desire to inform the broadest public – both within Australia and overseas – about Australian Aboriginal art as one of the great contemporary art movements has resulted in their ongoing contributions to exhibitions and art scholarship; and for this we are truly grateful.