RMIT Focus on Indigenous culture: Ngarara Place & Streets of Papunya

The launch on May 30 of RMIT University’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) and opening the newly completed Indigenous Garden – “Ngarara Place” – on RMIT’s City campus has kept the focus firmly on Indigenous culture during the busy events as part of the current RMIT Gallery exhibition Streets of Papunya.

The launch of RMIT’s RAP and the opening of “Ngarara Place” featured special guest performer Dan Sultan to celebrate National Reconciliation Week on our City campus.

Dan delighted audiences when he performed at the November 2013 opening of the RMIT Gallery exhibition Music, Melbourne + Me.

The RAP and RMIT’s current endeavours in reconciliation are the culmination of a 25-year journey that the University is determined to continue into the future.

Likewise, the Streets of Papunya exhibition is part of RMIT Gallery’s long standing commitment to showing exhibitions of Indigenous artwork, and works by Indigenous artists. Here are some of the photos of the Streets of Papunya exhibition opening and public programs, which included visits by Papunya artists.

Indigenous art exhibitions at RMIT Gallery:

Streets of Papunya: The reinvention of Papunya painting

6 May – 11 June 2016

Celebrating the renaissance of painting that has occurred in one of the best-known locations of art production in Central Australia, since the establishment of the Papunya Tjupi Arts Centre in 2007.

Richard Bell: Imagining Victory

11 MARCH – 23 APRIL 2016

Leading Australian artist Richard Bell’s trilogy of video projects digs beneath the veneer of cultural integration to expose how racism can be deeply embedded and passed on to future generations. See the virtual tour of the exhibition.

Garnkiny: Constellations of Meaning

15 SEPTEMBER – 08 NOVEMBER 2014

This exhibition included works by Gija artists, both past and present, which explored aspects of the rich and significant story Garnkiny Ngarranggarni (Moon Dreaming).

Warlayirti: The Art of Balgo

15 SEPTEMBER – 08 NOVEMBER 2014

Warlayirti examined the aesthetic divergences and vibrancy that distinguishes the art of Balgo and the importance of Christianity to the Balgo community as a means of cross cultural communication.

Arts critic praises RMIT Gallery performance in 2014

Installation view, Warlayirti: The Art of Balgo at RMIT Gallery. Photo Mark Ashkanasy, 2014. (extreme far right) A group of men, names and associations not given  Assembly banner 1981  Paint on calico 400.0 x 89.0 cm St Theresa Church, Balgo Collection  and (far right) Balgo men, names and associations not given  Assembly banner 1981  Paint on calico 197.0 x 71.0 cm St Theresa Church, Balgo Collection

Installation view, Warlayirti: The Art of Balgo at RMIT Gallery. 
(far right) Assembly banner, 1981. Paint on calico, 400.0 x 89.0 cm, St Theresa Church, Balgo, Collection and (far right), Assembly banner, 1981, Paint on calico, 197.0 x 71.0 cm, St Theresa Church, Balgo Collection. Photo credit Mark Ashkanasy, 2014.

With the new year comes reflection on performance in 2014 – and we are pleased to announce that RMIT Gallery gets a big tick from arts reviewer Robert Nelson (The Age, SMH) for two of its outstanding exhibitions in 2014. He writes in his yearly round up (Dec 31, 2014) that “The universities performed imaginatively, especially…RMIT with Warlayirti: The Art of Balgo and Experimenta Recharge: the 6th International Biennial of Media Art…”

In his review (23/11/2014), Robert Nelson writes “A beautiful exhibition at RMIT Gallery tells the story of a famous art centre in Western Australia:  Warlayirti: the art of Balgo.  Curated by Jacqueline Healy, the show hangs together with marvellous aesthetic unity.  Suites of majestic works bask in their colour and energy, scaffolded by an underlying history.”

After its successful run at RMIT Gallery from 15 September to 8 November 2014, Warlayirti: the art of Balgo opened to great acclaim at the Araluen Arts Centre in Alice Springs on Friday 28 November, where it will run until 15 February 2015.

Robert Nelson also lavished praise on the poetic qualities of RMIT Gallery’s current exhibition Experimenta Recharge, which asks whether contemporary technologies can transform our view and understanding of the world.

The esteemed arts critic singled out works in the exhibition by Japanese artist Ei Wada, Korinsky (Abel, Carlo and Max) from Germany, the group La Société Anonyme from Paris and Dubai, Brazilian artist Anaisa Franco and indigenous artist Raymond Zada , as having “a poetic relationship with symbols which is often missing in interactive works.”

You can view Experimenta Recharge until Saturday February 21, when RMIT Gallery will be open from 7 pm to 7 am as part of White Night Melbourne. After that the media art exhibition will have a long tour around Australia. 

 

 

 

 

 

Sounds Like Deep Space – Big Bang Sounds podcast is live

Sounds Like Deep Space...(left to right) Dr Katie Mack, Abel Korinsky and Lawrence Harvey

(left to right) Dr Katie Mack, Abel Korinsky and Lawrence Harvey

Time, space, distance – who isn’t fascinated by what’s up in the stars and beyond?  Artists have been gazing to the heavens since they picked up something to draw with and record what they saw with their eyes and imaginations. So it is no surprise then that in 2014, an experimental artist has turned to the cosmos for inspiration.

Working with multichannel sound installations, artist German artist Abel Korinsky questions what could happen if sounds from the past could be reconstructed and heard. What would the Big Bang sound like? A new work by Korinsky is included in the upcoming Experimenta Recharge 6th International Biennial of Media Art exhibition held at RMIT Gallery from 28 November 2014 to 21 February 2015.

As a preview of things to come, he joined theoretical astrophysicist Dr Katie Mack and RMIT’s Lawrence Harvey, Associate Professor and Director of SIAL Sound Studios, on 29 October, 2014 at RMIT Gallery to talk about space – art – and Big Bang Sounds.

Missed it? Listen to the podcast here:

As Lawrence Harvey pondered, why does the notion of the Big Bang hold such a fascination for people? It was a full house for the talk, with artists, scientists, and those simply fascinated by the concepts listening to the trio talk. Dr Sarah Jane Pell, an artist exploring the Aesthetics & Technics of Human Performance Exploration, grabbed a front row seat and questioned Abel Korinsky about placing himself in unusual environments to create his work and find inspiration for sound art and performance.

Artist Sarah Jane Pell and Abel Korinsky

Artist Sarah Jane Pell and Abel Korinsky

IMG_5601The audience sat enthralled, surrounded for the talk by the spectacular artwork from Balgo in the exhibition Warlayirti: The Art of Balgo. The exhibition has now come down to make way for Experimenta Recharge, which opens on 28 November – but Warlayirti: The Art of Balgo can be seen in the NT, at the Araluen Arts Centre (28 November – 15 February 2015).

IMG_5592

IMG_5597Katie Mack (@AstroKatie) suggested people are fascinated by space – and the Big Bang – because everyone wants to know where we came from and has a curiosity about the beginning and the end and what it would have been like at the beginning of time. Dr Mack is a theoretical astrophysicist. Throughout her career as a researcher at Caltech, Princeton, Cambridge, and now Melbourne University, she has studied dark matter, black holes, cosmic strings, and the formation of the first galaxies in the Universe.

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“I can think of time as distance – the concept of now is tricky. I can’t observe now anywhere else – if you are moving quickly time passes differently. Time and space are linked together.

“Time passes and things end but everything follows on from everything else. If we were on a planet 65 million light years ago and we had a powerful enough telescope we could see the dinosaurs on earth.”

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Interestingly, Kate spoke about how she uses art when thinking about time and space, referencing works such as Salvador Dalí’s The Persistence of Memory. The works from Balgo were another example of how the resonance of sound and ideas of time and space might be imagined, she said.

Warlayirti: The Art of Balgo  at RMIT Gallery, 16 September – Saturday 8 November, 2014. Photo: Mark Ashkanasy, 2014.

Warlayirti: The Art of Balgo at RMIT Gallery, 16 September – Saturday 8 November, 2014. Photo: Mark Ashkanasy, 2014.

The audience then heard a snippet of Abel Korinsky’s big bang sounds…..

The Big Bang Sounds talk release on podcast is timely indeed with the successful landing of a robotic spacecraft on a comet for the first time in history. Rosetta mission’s safe landing on gives scientists their first chance to ride a comet and study close up what happens as it gets closer to the sun.

Both scientists and artists reach for the stars when they launch ambitious projects. Their ambitions and fearlessness are about the challenge of being bold and not being afraid. The success of the Big Bang Sounds talk is a small step in this direction – the Rosetta Mission a cosmic and large one – and ventures are mirrored in the bold, ambitious new media works that will be on show at the  Experimenta Recharge 6th International Biennial of Media Art exhibition held at RMIT Gallery from 28 November 2014 to 21 February 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

 

RMIT Gallery’s special connection with Germany

A special meeting: (left to right) Mr Volkmar Klein, Chairman of the German-Australian-New Zealand Parliamentary Group, Member of German Parliament; Dr Frithjof Schmidt, Member of German Parliament and Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs; Ms Suzanne Davies, Director and Chief Curator RMIT Gallery; Professor Dr Norbert Lammert, President of the German Bundestag.

A special meeting: (left to right) Mr Volkmar Klein, Chairman of the German-Australian-New Zealand Parliamentary Group, Member of German Parliament; Dr Frithjof Schmidt, Member of German Parliament and Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs; Ms Suzanne Davies, Director and Chief Curator RMIT Gallery; Professor Dr Norbert Lammert, President of the German Bundestag.

RMIT Gallery Director and Chief Curator Suzanne Davies joined Prof. Dr. Norbert Lammert, President of the German Parliament, and his delegation for dinner on Friday 31 October at Circa Restaurant in St Kilda.

Dr Lammert is President of the German Bundestag (Parliament) and has held this position for the past nine years. He ranks second only to the President of the Federal Republic. As President of the Bundestag Professor Lammert ensures that Parliament’s rules are upheld and represents Parliament in the public sphere.

Dr Arpad A. Sölter,  Director of the Goethe-Institut Australien, said the special get-together allowed an exchange of thoughts with the German MPs.

(left to right) Dr Arpad A. Sölter,  Director of the Goethe-Institut Australien and Ms Josephine Ridge, Artistic Director of the Melbourne Festival.

(left to right) Dr Arpad A. Sölter, Director of the Goethe-Institut Australien and Ms Josephine Ridge, Artistic Director of the Melbourne Festival.

RMIT and the Goethe-Institut have celebrated more than 35 years of successful collaboration. Ms Davies said that the beginnings of this partnership can even be traced to the early 1970’s, when most educational institutions in Australia were hungry for information and cultural exchanges with countries other than the UK. Since then RMIT Gallery and the Goethe-Institut Melbourne, which was founded in 1972, have created an impressive visual presence of Germany in the heart of Melbourne.

“A key aspect of the early relationship between RMIT and the Goethe-Institut was
the combination of teaching design and fine arts with street front public access for exhibitions at Storey Hall, RMIT Gallery, particularly following its refurbishment in 1996,” she said.

Ms Davies said the partnership between RMIT Gallery and the Goethe-Institut, and Ifa was finely matched and mutually rewarding.

“RMIT Gallery has introduced many leading European artists to Melbourne and facilitated workshops and skill exchange with photographers, designers, architects, town planners, musicians and gold and silversmiths over the past 30 years.” 

Recent collaborations include the successful exhibitions Ulm School of Design (2014); New Olds: Design Between Tradition and Innovation (2012-2013) and Somewhat Different: Contemporary Design and the Power of Convention (2010).

Ms Davies said that next year RMIT Gallery would be the first venue for the new German touring exhibition Geniale Dilletanten (November 2015 – February 2016), which explores the short era of the West German artistic emergence from 1979 to 1989, an age of new ways and new expressions for all artists involved.

Characteristic for this was a broad approach to genres: musicians shot Super 8 mm films; painters played in bands or established clubs, which became incubators for the exploding Geniale Dilletanten [= Ingenious amateurs] scene – not only in Berlin, but also in Dusseldorf, Munich, Bonn, Rosenheim and Erlangen. The exhibition will include the work of Die Einstürzenden Neubauten featuring musician Blixa Bargeld, who produced unheard-of brute noise on their home-made instruments. 

Professor Dr Norbert Lammert, President of the German Bundestag.

Professor Dr Norbert Lammert, President of the German Bundestag.

On Friday 31 October Professor Lammert gave a talk at RMIT in the Kaleide Theatre about Europe, 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, hosted by the EU Centre at RMIT in conjunction with the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Australian Institute of International Affairs Victoria, the Goethe-Institut, Monash University and the University of Melbourne EU Centre on Shared Complex Challenges.

Ms Davies said that Professor Lammert’s talk was really riveting and acutely insightful and praised the enlightened vision of the German government in relation to its support of the arts and culture as vital components of public diplomacy and the maintenance of a civil society.

Warlayirti: The Art of Balgo exhibition tour: (left to right) Ms Suzanne Davies, Director and Chief Curator RMIT Gallery shows around Professor Dr Norbert Lammert, President of the German Bundestag and Dr Frithjof Schmidt, Member of German Parliament and Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Warlayirti: The Art of Balgo exhibition tour: (left to right) Ms Suzanne Davies, Director and Chief Curator RMIT Gallery shows around Professor Dr Norbert Lammert, President of the German Bundestag and Dr Frithjof Schmidt, Member of German Parliament and Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs.

After the talk, Ms Davies hosted the Professor Lammert and his delegation at RMIT Gallery and gave them a tour of the current exhibitions Garnkiny: Constellations of Meaning and Warlayirti: The Art of Balgo and spoke to them about the vitality and contemporary resonance of Aboriginal art and culture.

 

 

Aboriginal Art Centres – The good, the bad and the ugly

Acrylic painting workshop in spinifex near where the Warlayirti Art Centre now stands, 1981. Photo: Warwick Nieass.

Acrylic painting workshop in spinifex near where the Warlayirti Art Centre now stands, 1981. Photo: Warwick Nieass.

The Ursula Hoff Annual Lecture 2014: 16 September 2014
Aboriginal Art Centres -The good, the bad and the ugly

Presented by RMIT Gallery to launch the major exhibitionWarlayirti: The Art of Balgo (16 September – 8 November), this public lecture will explore Aboriginal Art Centres -The good, the bad and the ugly. It considers the role of curators and business in Aboriginal art.

The late Dr Ursula Hoff AO OBE was the Deputy Director of the National Gallery of Victoria from 1968–1973, a pioneering senior management role for a woman at that time. In her distinguished career, Dr Hoff made major contributions to academic scholarship, art curation and art education.

About the lecture
Art Centres are a key foundation stone of the Aboriginal Art market, particularly in remote area Australia. However, such art centres evoke mixed responses. Some suggest their multiple functions, social and cultural within their communities, interfere with the business of producing and selling art. Or is that the key to their success?

Title:           Aboriginal Art Centres -The good, the bad and the ugly
Speakers: Exhibition curator Dr Jacqueline Healy; Professor Ian McLean, academic and author; and Sister Alice                                   Dempsey, a key player in the establishment of Warlayirti Art Centre, who spent 30 years working with the community.
Date:          16 September, 2014
Time:          6.00 – 7.00 pm
Location:   RMIT Storey Hall
Building 16, 342 Swanston Street, Melbourne
Bookings: Free event but bookings required.
Ph (03) 9925 1717

Exhibition openings: Warlayirti: The Art of Balgo & Garnkiny: Constellations of Meaning

 

John Tjapangarti [John Lewis] (c.1953) Camping as they travel along 1985 synthetic polymer paint on canvas board 50.8 x 60.9 cm Purchased for the Guy Grey-Smith Memorial Collection, 1986 State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia

John Tjapangarti [John Lewis] (c.1953)
Camping as they travel along 1985
synthetic polymer paint on canvas board
50.8 x 60.9 cm
Purchased for the Guy Grey-Smith Memorial Collection, 1986
State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia

 Mr Tony Ellwood, Director National Gallery of Victoria, will open two new Aboriginal art exhibitions at RMIT Gallery at 6 pm on Monday 15 September. Free. All welcome.

Warlayirti: The Art of Balgo (image above) will examine the aesthetic divergences and vibrancy that distinguishes the art of Balgo and the importance of Christianity to the Balgo community as a means of cross cultural communication.

Garnkiny: Constellations of Meaning (image below) will include works by Gija artists, both past and present, which explore aspects of the rich and significant story Garnkiny Ngarranggarni (Moon Dreaming) which takes place on Yarin Country in Darrajayin, between Warmun and Halls Creek, in Western Australia. The telling, retelling and learning of these stories are powerful ways for this vast practical, intellectual and cultural legacy to be reproduced, passed on and reshaped.

The opening will take place in the presence of many of the the Most Rev Christopher A Saunders DD, Bishop of Broome, and artists from both exhibitions.

Mabel JULI  Born c.1932 Six Mile on Moolabulla Station, Western Australia Garnkiny Natural ochre and pigments on linen 180 X 120 cm Courtesy of Warmun Art Centre

Mabel JULI
Born c.1932 Six Mile on Moolabulla Station, Western Australia
Garnkiny
Natural ochre and pigments on linen
180 X 120 cm
Courtesy of Warmun Art Centre

 

Art of remote Australia coming to RMIT Gallery

WarlayirtiEvite

 

Please join us for the opening of two important Aboriginal art exhibitions at RMIT Gallery by Mr Tony Ellwood, Director National Gallery of Victoria on Monday 15 September, 2014, and for the 2014 Ursula Hoff Annual Lecture on ‘Aboriginal art centres: the good, the bad and the ugly’ at Storey Hall on 16 September.

Both events will take place in the presence of some of the artists represented in the exhibitions.

GarnkinyEvite

Warlayirti: The Art of Balgo (6 September – Saturday 8 November) will examine the aesthetic divergences and vibrancy that distinguishes the art of Balgo and the importance of Christianity to the Balgo community as a means of cross cultural communication.
 
Balgo (Wirrimanu), Western Australia, in the midst of the Tanami desert is the ceremonial hub for several Indigenous clans from the Kimberley and Western Desert and is on the Luurnpa (kingfisher) Dreaming track – many of Australia’s most recognised Australian artists come from this region.

This exhibition brings together the church banners, as well as early and more recent work by the leading and emerging artists from Warlayirti Artists, one of the most successful art centres to emerge from remote area Australia.

Garnkiny: Constellations of Meaning (6 September – Saturday 8 November) will include works by Gija artists, both past and present, which explore aspects of the rich and significant story Garnkiny Ngarranggarni (Moon Dreaming) which takes place on Yarin Country in Darrajayin, between Warmun and Halls Creek, in Western Australia.

The telling, retelling and learning of these stories are powerful ways for this vast practical, intellectual and cultural legacy to be reproduced, passed on and reshaped.

DETAILS 

Opening night Warlayirti: The Art of Balgo and Garnkiny: Constellations of Meaning – Monday 15 September 2014, from  6-8 pm

Opening speaker: Mr Tony Ellwood, Director National Gallery of Victoria
Ursula Hoff Annual Lecture: Tuesday 16 September, RMIT Storey Hall. Free. All Welcome.

Topic: Aboriginal Art Centres: The good, the bad, and the ugly

Speakers: Dr Jacqueline Healy (Curator,Warlayirti: The Art of Balgo); Professor Ian McLean– academic and author; and Sister Alice Dempsey.

 

Bookings: (03) 9925 1717