Victoria is positively buzzing with the exciting breadth of First Nations’ art and craft this month. I wonder how it’s all coincided?

But let’s start with the Bendigo show of Indigenous Batik that opened last month:
Desert Lines : Batik from Central Australia is mainly based on the NGV exhibition Across the Desert: Aboriginal Batik from Central Australia which was first exhibited in 2008. The exhibition has been touring virtually ever since “ demand is so great.

Desert Lines: Batik from Central Australia comprises fifty-six batik lengths drawn from five different desert communities: Ernabella, Fregon, Utopia, Yuendumu and Kintore. Each has a different story to tell in relation to the adoption and adaptation of batik, a wax-resist process developed in Indonesia, which Aboriginal women began to make their own in 1971.

As a point of difference from, Desert Lines also includes seven major paintings on canvas because, for many Indigenous artists, batik served as a prelude to painting on canvas at Aboriginal-owned art centres across the Deserts. The exhibition enables links to be made between batiks and paintings of Pitjantjatjara, Anmatyerr, Alyawarr, Warlpiri and Pintupi artists. It also reveals differences in iconography, subject matter, palette and approaches to the hot wax and painting mediums across time and space.

The show is on at Bendigo Art Gallery until Sunday 17 November.

Meanwhile, in Melbourne, a multi-venue celebration of jewellery and object art opens on Saturday 7th September. Included within it, is a showing of The Indigenous Jewellery Project at the oddly named Peanut Gallery on the 8th floor, 37 Swanston Street, Melbourne.

Artists included are: Emily Beckley, Angie Davis, Krystal Hurst, Jennifer Kemarre Martiniello, Lynette Lewis, Djuwakan #2 Marika, Munuy’nu Marika, Dindirrk Mununggurr, Marrnyula Mununggurr, Matilda Nona, Maryann Sebasio, Rosaline Tomasina, Mandy Y. Wanambi, Mothara Wirrpanda, Birrpunu Yunupingu, Marrawaymala Yunupingu.

It’s the first survey exhibition of The Indigenous Jewellery Project (IJP), which is a nation-wide contemporary jewellery project working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owned art centres and artists across the country. IJP was created by curator Emily McCulloch Childs in 2012 to help traditional Australian Indigenous jewellers, who are arguably the inheritors of the world’s oldest continuous jewellery practice, to actively create projects and develop their practice in a professional capacity. Workshops are held with contemporary jewellery lecturer Melinda Young from UNSW on Country and in contemporary jewellery studios.

It’s all part of Radiant Pavilion at venues across Melbourne, 7-15 September 2019.

This Spring, the Yarra Valley will host a celebration of portraiture when the Archibald Prize 2019 comes from Sydney to the TarraWarra Museum of Art – its only stop in Victoria – opening on Saturday14 September and running until 5 November.

What’s this got to do with Aboriginal art, you ask? Well, five of the finalists have more than a passing relationship. Hot young artists Vincent Namatjira (painting fellow artist Tony Albert) and Blak Douglas both have finalists in the show “ and the latter’s striking image of Esme Timbery, the noted Larper shell artist, was particularly popular in Sydney.

But not as popular as the non-Indigenous David Darcey’s intense portrait of Daisy Tjuparntarri Ward, a respected elder of the Warakurna community in Western Australia. For this second time, Archibald Prize finalist was crowned the 2019 ANZ People’s Choice award winner, despite only taking up painting full-time two and a half years ago.

Darcy decided to paint Mrs Ward after meeting her last year and the two quickly hit it off and became good friends. Last year Tjuparntarri walked into my studio looking for art supplies, he explained. Over several weeks, we got to know each other, and I discovered I’d met an extraordinary woman. Tjuparntarri is a beautiful human being. She is a strong, proud Indigenous woman of great substance. It was an honour to paint her and I am overwhelmed with pride knowing that through my endeavours, her portrait has connected with so many people, Darcy said.

Ward, who is a cultural and community liaison officer for regional WA schools and a director of the NPY Women’s Council, an advocate against domestic violence, a qualified translator, artist and sought-after storyteller, exclaimed, I am very proud and happy that we, the people of the Central Deserts, are being recognised in this way, upon hearing of Darcy’s win.

Other Aboriginal subjects in the Archibald exhibition are Professor Michael McDaniel from the University of Technology in Sydney (and Chair of Bangarra Dance) by Kate Gradwell, and artist Christian Thompson in the pink by Thea Perkins.

And TarraWarra promises more of the Indigenous. For they’ve just appointed a First Peoples Curator in the person of Wurundjeri and Dja Dja Wurrung woman and current Victorian NAIDOC Committee Chairperson, Stacie Piper. The position forms part of Yalingwa, a major First Peoples visual arts initiative backed by the Victorian Government and involving exhibitions at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) in Melbourne and TarraWarra Museum of Art.

Working with TWMA, Ms Piper will conceive, curate and realise a major exhibition of First Peoples art with a primary focus on SE Australian artists, set to open at the Museum in 2021.

In the meantime, TWMA is open for applications for the 2019 Yalingwa Fellowship, worth $60,000. The Fellowship can be used for the experimentation and development of new work, research, professional travel or to consolidate the artist’s practice or studio space. The Fellow will also have the opportunity to build a relationship with the First Peoples Curator and TarraWarra Museum of Art.

For further information on the Yalingwa Fellowship and application information, visit Submissions close on Monday 30 September 2019.

The Archie is at TWMA from Saturday 14th September until Tuesday 12th November 2019.

As that show opens in the Yarra Valley, just up the Hume Highway at the Mitchelton Winery, Nagambie, the extended Possum Family of Desert artists are opening ‘Generations II’. The first ˜Generations‘ was curated by Adam Knight’s Aranda Art Gallery in Melbourne in 2009 and was the only exhibition where the late Clifford Possum’s artistic family members were represented together. Generations II, some ten years later, includes further members of Clifford’s family who have recently taken up the brush.

On show will be works by Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, Gabriella Possum Nungurrayi, Michelle Possum Nungurrayi, Lionel Possum Tjungurrayi and their extended families.

The exhibition will allow visitors to observe the artistic similarities and subtle differences between generations. Importantly this exhibition is an exceptional opportunity to view and gain an understanding of the importance of these artworks and how stories and knowledge are passed on through artworks, stories, songs and dancing through the generations to educate and preserve their Indigenous culture.

Adam Knight’s ‘Generations IIY’ is at Mitchelton Winery’s Gallery of Aboriginal Art from Saturday 14th September to Tuesday 12th November 2019.