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Articles on Indigenous art

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Justene Williams, Australia b.1970. The Vertigoats 2021. Mixed media. Installed dimensions variable. Purchased 2021 with funds from the Contemporary Patrons through the QAGOMA Foundation. Collection: QAGOMA. Photograph: Natasha Harth, QAGOMA

QAGOMA’s Embodied Knowledge is an energetic and inclusive celebration of contemporary Queensland art

Embodied Knowledge: Queensland Contemporary Art is a celebration of women, people of colour and LGBTIQA+ artists.
‘Trucked Off to Brewarrina Mission’, Wanaaring 1938. 1 of 6 images by May Hunt. Photo first published in the New Dawn, January 1974. Originally incorrectly attributed to Ron Riley. This was included in the ‘Looking Through Windows’ exhibition courtesy of Harold Hunt and family.

An Ode To My Grandmother: remaking the past using oral histories, theatre and music

Indigenous oral history is more than a methodology. It is living history, practised for thousands of millennia, intrinsically woven into Aboriginal people’s way of life and culture.
Tracker Nat, holding his hat on the far left, with Paul Hasluck standing next to him, holding Nat’s shield in this picture from 1958. National Archives of Australia. NAA: A1200, L28199.

Rediscovering the art of Tracker Nat: ‘the Namatjira of carving’

During the 1950s, Nat made hundreds of carvings. Today, many of these are likely to be lying unidentified in people’s homes and in museum basements.
The bark painting depicting a barramundi that Namadbara created for Spencer at Oenpelli in 1912 and that he identified in the interview with Lance Bennett in 1967, now in Museums Victoria Spencer/Cahill Collection (object X 19909).

Paddy Compass Namadbara: for the first time, we can name an artist who created bark paintings in Arnhem Land in the 1910s

The Spencer/Cahill Collection at Museums Victoria contains approximately 170 bark paintings – and now we can name one of the artists behind them.
May Nango sharing stories about Mamukala wetlands with her grandson, in 2015. Anna Florin (courtesy of GAC)

65,000 years of food scraps found at Kakadu tell a story of resilience amid changing climate, sea levels and vegetation

The Kakadu region has gone through immense transformation throughout history. How can archaeological food scraps tell us about how the First Australians adapted?
Josie Maralngurra touching her hand stencil made when she was around 12. In the background are three white barramundi fish figures with red line-work also created by her father Djimongurr. Photograph by Fiona McKeague, copyright Parks Australia

Friday essay: ‘this is our library’ – how to read the amazing archive of First Nations stories written on rock

Australia’s stunning galleries of rock art are vast repositories of knowledge that can teach us much.
Cherine Fahd, Being Together: Parramatta Yearbook, 2021-2022. Produced by C3West on behalf of the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia in partnership with Parramatta Artists’ Studios, an initiative of the City of Parramatta. Courtesy of the artist

How the arts can help us come back together again – podcast

Three stories from Australia and the UK exploring the role of art in helping people deal with the challenges life throws at them. Listen to The Conversation Weekly podcast.
Being Indigenous is more than just genealogy. Here Lorralene Whiteye from the Ojibway Nation checks her hair in a mirror before the start of a healing ceremony, held by Toronto Indigenous Harm Reduction, to commemorate the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Toronto. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Evan Buhler

Stolen identities: What does it mean to be Indigenous? Don’t Call Me Resilient Podcast EP 8

In recent years, some prominent people have been called out for falsely claiming Indigenous identity. Why would someone falsely claim an identity? And what does it mean to be Indigenous?
Adventurer Francis Birtles in his car with a man identified as Indigenous artist Nayombolmi. National Library of Australia

Aboriginal art on a car? How an Indigenous artist and an adventurer met in the 1930 wet season in Kakadu

One was a celebrity adventurer, the other was a skilled Indigenous artist who painted everything in sight. A new look at old photographs confirms their meeting.
Painting of a raider on horseback (bottom right) with a musket and domestic stock. A ‘rain-animal’ (top right) was likely summoned to wash away the raiders’ tracks. Courtesy of Sam Challis and Brent Sinclair-Thomson

South Africa’s bandit slaves and the rock art of resistance

Runaway slaves joined indigenous Khoe-San people and raided colonial farms. The rock art they left in their hideouts tells a fascinating story.

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