Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Debut of Australian Indigenous Art Website

A new Website showcasing Indigenous artists from urban Australia has debuted: Storylines.

A joint effort by The University of New South Wales and the open-access Dictionary of Australian Artists Online (DAAO), the site seeks to fill in "a gaping hole in information about Aboriginal art", according to Tess Allas, a project director and an associate lecturer at UNSW's School of Art History and Art Education. Allas and an assistant spent more than three years, from 2007 through 2009, traveling around Australia to collect information about and help write biographies for hundreds of Indigenous artists in urban areas. (The biographies, some 600 for Storylines, are published on the DAAO site.)

According to information on the Storylines site, the project's aims "are primarily cultural and conceptual — the repositioning of Indigenous artists from 'settled' Australia as part of both Indigenous art and Australian contemporary art." The conduct of the project, the site also indicates, serves as a model for how to guide similar projects that seek to document "a specific thread of Australian artistic practice".

The site presents the research and the results (by age, gender, other occupation(s), birthplace and residence, language, family, training, and other characteristics), and includes links to images of paintings and drawings of various artists. The information in each category helps to create a more comprehensive understanding of Indigenous urban artists individually and collectively.

In the video immediately below, Allas describes the project's intentions, the problems encountered in trying to document the artists' work, and her team's findings. (The complete project report is available at Storylines.)

Other Resources

Australian Indigenous Art at Culture Portal (Government Site)

Indigenous Legal Issues, Arts Law Centre of Australia Online

Queensland Indigenous Arts (Marketing and Export Agency)

Images (Google)

Michael Riley: sights unseenArchive of Retrospective Exhibition (Go here (Part 1) and here (Part 2) for an excellent video program about Michael Riley. Michael Riley, 1960-2004, was an important Aboriginal filmmaker and photographer. His obituary is here. Biographical summaries are here and here.)


Louise Gallagher said...

Alas, the video is blocked in Canada by the University of New South Wales on 'copyright' grounds.

Maureen said...

I'm surprised, Louise.

The full report that is on the site itself can be downloaded (it's a pdf). The site is full of interesting information. I spent the better part of a day just browsing and reading and looking at images.

The video can be accessed from the COFA blog, too.

L.L. Barkat said...

You find the most amazing stuff. How DO you do it?

Btw, on a different note, I laughed aloud at Eric's comment too. Well, and especially the thought that maybe I was a man writing about a woman. When I was really a woman writing about a man holding a guitar that was like a woman.


Hannah Stephenson said...

I agree, L.L.! How did you hear about this?

I always learn something new over here (by which I mean your site).

Anonymous said...

good find.
i must have a closer look.

Maureen said...

Well, I come across one thing and that leads me to another and, you know, the Web is aptly named. I go where curiosity leads.

What makes this so interesting is that it involved documenting the Indigenous in the urban areas. Most people don't realize the artists are not relegated to the remote outback.

I saw a 13-painting show of Aboriginal art the last time I was in New York that blew me away. The work of the artists in the show now sells for hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars. The sale of Indigenous art is highly regulated, however.

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