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Sisterhood of Aboriginal Women Artists’ New Museum Tour Marches Across North America, Re-Defining Contemporary Visions

January 24, 2017 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum FIU presents Marking the Infinite: Contemporary Women Artists from Aboriginal Australia, featuring the work of nine contemporary women artists hailing from remote Aboriginal areas: Nonggirrnga Marawili, Wintjiya Napaltjarri, Yukultji Napangati, Angelina Pwerle, Carlene West, Regina Pilawuk Wilson, Lena Yarinkura, Gulumbu Yunupingu and Nyapanyapa Yunupingu.

The Miami leg of this North American tour features the full breadth of the collection withseventy works showcased in the museum’s Grand Galleries, spanning more than 4,000 square feet.

Miami-based collectors and philanthropists Debra and Dennis Scholl have lent the artworks, many of which are being seen publicly for the first time.

The opening reception is free and open to the public on Saturday, Jan. 28 (4:00 – 7:00 p.m.), on view through May 7 (directions to Florida International University).

The reception will commence with a special walk-through presentation for the public by Dennis Scholl and curator Henry Skerritt.

The exhibition features some of the most acclaimed artists in Australia, all of whom have works in the Australian National Museum’s collection.

Nyapanyapa Yunupingu’s work has been shown at the Sydney Biennale. Her sister, GulumbuYunupingu, has work in the permanent collection of the Musée du quai Branly in Paris. Regina Wilson’s work was shown at the Moscow Biennale.

These women have re-drawn the boundaries of Aboriginal art and are re-defining the vision of contemporary art,” says Dr. Jordana Pomeroy, Director of the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art MuseumFIU. “With subject matter ranging from faraway celestial bodies to the tiniest of flowers on the native bush plum, they assert the wisdom of revered matriarchs and grapple with the most fundamental questions of existence.”

Until the 1980s the women in these Aboriginal cultures were not given the opportunity to paint for the market. As Aboriginal Australian men began to claim a viable market for their art production, women followed suit.

This exhibition also narrates a story about a deeply profound sisterhood of women artists, who have risen to the challenge of becoming new leaders of their communities. By the mid-1990s, women had taken over the reins of the movement.

Watch the video by Australia’s ABC TV Arts

Although this new tour has recently begun (Miami is the second leg of the tour) major critics and media are heralding Marking the Infinite:

The New York Times: “A landmark exhibition … critically lauded, innovative works”

Hyperallergic: “Breathtaking display of work, falls squarely within the realm of contemporary art” 

The Scholls commissioned many of these works from the artists specifically for the exhibition’s tour, allowing some of the artists to work at a much larger scale they had not previously attempted.

“When I first saw this work it felt like I had been struck by lightning,” says Dennis Scholl. “This is an opportunity to witness a new, contemporary manifestation of the longest continuing art-making culture known to humanity, going back more than 40,000 years.”

“Bringing this experience to our hometown is a thrill for us, because we are so passionate about this body of work. Miami has become a hotbed for contemporary art, and Marking the Infinite provides audiences the opportunity to experience the vital, vibrant presence of these works from a seldom seen culture,” adds Scholl.

“These artists are globally alert and connected to our modern world,” says Henry Skerritt, curator of the exhibition. “There has never been a more urgent need for contemporary artists to imagine our shared predicament as the diverse occupants of the same planet.”

“The dream that globalization once held is in danger of being eclipsed by an equally global crisis, and a clarion call has sounded from this most unlikely of remote places for their unique perspectives and wisdom of the peripheriesThey are well primed to comment on our times, presenting visions that are global and planetary in scope, but also human in scale,” adds the curator Henry Skerritt.

The exhibition will continue to travel throughout North America for the next two years, to the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art in Arizona, the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno, The Phillips Collection in Washington, DC and the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

The exhibition originated at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno under the guidance of William Fox, Director of the Center for Art and Environment, and Henry Skerritt, Curator of the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Collection of the University of Virginia.

The catalogue accompanying the exhibition features essays with some of the world’s leading experts in Aboriginal art, including Hetti Perkins, Tina Baum, Cara Pinchbeck, Howard Morphy, John Carty, and Henry Skerritt.

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