The unsettling triumph of Aboriginal contemporary art
Additional Publication Information
Curator: Glenn Iseger-Pilkington. Introduction by Glenn Iseger-Pilkington; Essay "The unsettling triumph of Aboriginal contemporary art" by Ian McLean. Catalogue of an exhibition held at the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, 13 August-19 December 2011.
Events that celebrate Indigenous contemporary art, such as the Western Australian Indigenous Art Awards, have become an important feature of the Australian art world. Australians have more than warmed to Indigenous art: they have taken it into their hearts. Much like jazz music in the United States, it has given Australian cultural identity a distinctive edge and place in the world. Indeed it has become a brand of the nation, and at a time when Australia began to assert itself in the world as a country in its own right.
There is another reason for the ascendancy of Indigenous contemporary art. It delivers. It occupies the art museum with assurance and panache, holding its own against other contemporary art from around the world. Its worldwide popularity is astounding. In 2008 record-breaking crowds poured into the exhibition Utopia: The Genius of Emily Kame Kngwarreye, in Osaka's National Museum of Art and Tokyo's National Art Center. This year the Warburton Arts Projects exhibition Our Land - Our Body attracted 85,000 visitors in 24 days (more than 3500 a day) to the Shanghai Art Museum, a record for any exhibition at the museum.