Tjukurrtjanu to travel

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by Simon
Publish date
5 March 2012
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Your Question: Which Museum Victoria exhibition is going to Paris this year?

The stunning Tjukurrtjanu: Origins of Western Desert Art exhibition, a collaboration between the National Gallery of Victoria and Museum Victoria in partnership with Papunya Tula Pty Ltd, is off to France. This exhibition was on show at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia and is now being carefully packed to be sent to Paris for display at the Musée du quai Branly in October this year.

Big Pintupi Dreaming ceremony 1972 Anatjari Tjakamarra, Big Pintupi Dreaming ceremony 1972
Image: NGV
Source: National Gallery of Victoria © artists and their estates 2011, licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency Limited and Papunya Tula Artists Pty Ltd
 

It is a wonderful example of cooperation between public institutions and generous private lenders to bring together and showcase over 200 paintings completed between 1971 and 1972 from the Papunya region of the Western Desert. This initial production of paintings represented the founding of the Western Desert art movement and led to an explosive growth in the Aboriginal art movement. Museum Victoria has loaned numerous artefacts for this exhibition from its extensive collections. Tjukurrtjanu also presents 150 objects, including 78 painted and incised shields, spear throwers, pearl shell pendants, stone knives, head bands and ephemeral body ornaments, that establish the paintings pre-existing Western Desert iconography.

Group of decorated shields from Central Australia Group of decorated shields from Central Australia
Image: Museum Victoria
Source: Museum Victoria
 

The Musée du quai Branly is a recent addition to the museum scene in Paris, opening near the base of the Eiffel Tower in 2006. It has a collection of some 300,000 objects and is well known for its beautiful external ‘living walls’ featuring a variety of living plants and mosses. The museum exists to display and promote the indigenous cultures of Oceania, Asia, Africa and the Americas. It already holds collections of Aboriginal art from the north and central desert regions of Australia; bark paintings from Arnhem Land collected in the 1960s, contemporary acrylic paintings and a ceiling spectacularly painted by Indigenous artists.

Old Man’s Dreaming at Mitukatjirri 1972 Charlie Wartuma Tjungurrayi, Old Man’s Dreaming at Mitukatjirri
Image: NGV
Source: National Gallery of Victoria © artists and their estates 2011, licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency Limited and Papunya Tula Artists Pty Ltd
 

The Tjukurrtjanu exhibition will show a Parisian and European audience how Aboriginal people use art to tell their stories and to ensure the continuation of their culture.

  Exterior of Musee du quai Branly Exterior of Musee du quai Branly, Paris
Image: Andreas Praefcke
Source: Wikimedia Commons
 

Australian artists have had huge success in overseas markets over the years, the Tate Gallery in London holds works by Sidney Nolan; Russell Drysdale enjoyed overseas acclaim as do current Australian artists such as Ron Mueck with his hyper-real sculptures. Yet it can be argued that Australia’s Indigenous artists and their art are currently the best known examples of Australian art in the rest of the world. Indeed, this is the first time that an art exhibition solely developed by the NGV and Museum Victoria has been accepted in a major European venue.

Links:

National Gallery of Victoria - Tjukurrtjanu

Museum Victoria: Collections and Research – Indigenous Cultures

Papunya Tula Artists

MV Blog: Tjukurrtjanu: Origins of Western Desert Art

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Updates on what's happening at Melbourne Museum, the Immigration Museum, Scienceworks, the Royal Exhibition Building, and beyond.

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