Colour Country: art from Roper River
Main Gallery: 5 June - 2 August 2009
Left to right: Djambu Barra Barra, Crocodile Men's Stories, 1996, synthetic polymer paint on linen; Amy Jirwulurr Johnson, Busy Birds, 2002, silkscreen on paper
Colour Country: Art from Roper River, curated by Cath Bowdler, is a significant Indigenous exhibition consisting of spectacular, large-scale works by major artists such as Ginger Riley Munduwalawala, Djambu Barra Barra, Gertie Huddlestone, and Amy Jirwulurr Johnson. This extraordinary exhibition of art from Arnhem Land will subvert your expectations: there are no dot paintings or any ochres on bark. Instead, the Gallery is filled with huge paintings, bursting with colour and life, depicting country, 'landscape' and ancestral power through these artists' individual visions.
Colour Country holds over fifty works from artists who painted in the Roper River region of the Northern Territory from 1987 onward. The bulk of the exhibition represents historically significant paintings by major figures of the area, drawn from private and public collections and from Ngukurr Arts, the artist-run community centre at Ngukuur, NT.
Paintings from Roper River have only been exhibited together in a major public gallery once before, at the National Gallery of Victoria in 1997. Of the works collected from across Australia for this exhibition, many have not been displayed at all or have only rarely been viewed. Colour Country: art from Roper River offers the opportunity to see how the artists have developed individual innovation and experimentation, within their own distinct styles.
Left to right: Curator Cath Bowdler gives a talk at Drill Hall Gallery, 2009; Opening night at Flinders University Art Museum, 2009; Angelina George talks with some visitors during the Artists' Talk at the Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, 2010
Colour Country: art from Roper River was launched at Wagga Wagga Art Gallery on June 5, 2009, as part of Mawang (Altogether) - Celebrating Indigenous Culture, Wagga Wagga City Council's winter festival of events. A national tour through 2009 and 2010 sent the exhibition to Flinders University Art Museum, Adelaide; the Drill Hall Gallery, Canberra; and the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin. A full-colour catalogue, with contributions by Cath Bowdler, Judith Ryan and Nicolas Rothwell, was produced to accompany the exhibition, and is available from the Wagga Wagga Art Gallery Shop.
Colour Country on display at Wagga Wagga Art Gallery, 2009
A Wagga Wagga Art Gallery Initiative, touring to Flinders University Art Museum, Adelaide, the Drill Hall Gallery, Canberra and the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin.
This exhibition is supported by Visions of Australia, an Australian Government program supporting touring exhibition by providing funding assistance for the development and touring of Australian cultural material across Australia.
When: Friday 5 June 2009, 6:00- 8:00pm
Where: Wagga Wagga Art Gallery