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Inspiring Art: Indigenous Australia

The art show at National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Delhi, speaks to us about the evolution of artistic thought from early years to now.

 Uma Nair |  2018-06-14 16:17:15.0

Brilliant abstractions and quaint forms come together in an intriguing suite of works celebrating Indigenous Australia at the NGMA Delhi on Friday, June 15.The best thing about Adwaita Gadanayak's tenure as DG, NGMA is that he keeps us guessing and always has something up his sleeve.International exhibitions give us an eye into global traditions and techniques and present a robust and resonant realm of artistic practices.

Jean Baptist Apuatimi's Yirrikapayi is a mosaic toned work in earth tones that combines terrestrial as well aerial elements. At first look it is surreal and intricate for its details that are fine and arduous in labour intensive strokes. Created in the year 2007, this work has been created in a place called Nguiu, on Bathurst Island, belonging to the Northern Territory,of Australia. It has been created with natural earth pigments on canvas.

Equally enchanting in tenor and the power of the form is the versatile Alec Mingelmanganu's Wandjina created as far back as 1980. This too has been created from natural earth pigments and it is a mud brown textured oil on canvas that seems to hold within the many infleunces and narratives of stories of the past and the mythic moorings that have defined the indigenous dwellers who lived to tell their tales.

Gorgeously detailed and expressionist to the core is the tribal kangaroo by the famed Yirawala (c.1901 - 1976)
 entitled Kundaagi – Red Plains Kangaroo. Created in the year 1962,
the beauty of this is work is the manner in which the artist has melded both mediums of natural earth pigments and the abundantly found Eucalyptus bark .The orientation of kangaroo and ingenious idea of creating him in a posture of poise in the vertical format makes this a work of rare splendor. The most famous story of the bush fires and the two sons who were punished because they had killed and eaten a kangaroo is one that comes alive in a sanguine way in the work of the genius Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri (1932 - 2002). The work Warlugulong created in 1977, out of 
synthetic polymer paint, oil and natural earth pigments on canvas is one that holds within its grainy tints and tenor the sadness of death and the eventuality of brutality towards animals. This acrylic painting is a strikingly original work that depicts the Warlukurlangu or Bushfire Dreaming. The concentric circles at the centre of the glowing fire-burst, which conveys the explosive nature of the fire, indicate Warlukurlangu, the place west of Yuendumu where the fire began. The charcoal-grey areas indicate the burnt-out country and white dots represent ash. The work, which measures 710 mm x 555 mm, is by Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri and is historic in its very existence.

Amongst contemporary flavoured works is a mesmeric multi hued striationed abstract work by Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri (1926 - 1998).The 
Untitled (Rain Dreaming at Nyunmanu) created in 1994, is a dreamy creation that has been moulded into its momentuous magical magnificence with synthetic polymer paint on linen. The show has many things to offer and in many ways speaks to us about the evolution of artistic thought from early years to now.You can walk away with many things even the image of the shield from the rainforest by an anonymous artist which has been created with jewel toned warm colours and at once treasures both the past as well as the present.

Show continues till August 26, at NGMA.

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