Power and beauty are concepts that resonate through the work of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists in all areas of Australia today. Indigenous art is strong in country and law: it is concerned with the politics of identity and place, and the beauty of truth.

The works in Power and beauty, Indigenous art now beat with the pulse of today and respond to the current pressures of living in Australia: from Cairns to Warakurna, Brunswick to Brisbane. Stunning paintings and sculptures, thought-provoking installations and photographs and a challenging program of public events, including artists’ performances, offer potent ways of experiencing a diverse manifestation of cultural values, assertions of identity as well as political resistance.

Loss of land, loss of language, denial of citizenship rights and the huge impact of stolen generation legislation on a large percentage of the Indigenous population have scarred the Indigenous community at large. These issues lie at the heart of five seminal works from the last two decades “ by artists Fiona Foley, Lin Onus, Ray Thomas and Gordon Hookey “ which together acknowledge the strength and tenacity of pioneering city-based artists whose work is a form of political activism.

Power and beauty comprises work by an additional twelve strongly individual artists including Vernon Ah Kee, Richard Bell, Nici Cumpston, Julie Gough, Philip Gudthaykudthay, Samantha Hobson, Ricardo Idagi, Ellen José, Ricky Maynard, Clinton Nain, Wingu Tingima and Gulumbu Yunupingu and and a strong body of new work by Anangu artists from the closely associated communities of Irrunytju, Patjarr and Warakurna. The exhibits attest to the artists’ resilience in holding on to their culture in spite of a history and reality of dispossession.