Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

McLean, I. A.. "Arte Indigena Contemporaneo en Australien" Institut Valencia d’Art Modern, 31 January to 16 April. Valencia, Spain: 2012.



Research Background

While in Australia Aboriginal art is now regularly displayed as contemporary art, this is not the case in Europe where it is mainly exhibited and discussed within the paradigms of anthropology and primitive art. The research question in this exhibition asked how Australian Aboriginal art could be presented as contemporary art, to a European and especially Spanish audience?

Research Contribution

The author/curator addressed the research question in two catalogue essays, in the curation of the exhibition, and in a press conference. The author’s contribution was the result of his extensive research over the previous two decades into the historical and epistemological conditions of postcolonialism, which in the catalogue essays sought to draw connections between the geography and cross-cultural history of the Australian Western Desert and the Mediterranean. Curatorially the exhibition also included works by two urban Aboriginal artists that related to European themes, including two video projections.

Research Significance

The exhibition, Arte Indigena Contemporaneo en Australien, was held at the Institut Valencia d’Art Modern (IVAM) Spain’s premier public museum of contemporary art. IVAM had to be convinced of the exhibition idea and the record of the researcher in order to commit to the project. Their commitment to the project is further evident in their publication of a substantial hardcover exhibition catalogue. The exhibition subsequently toured in several cities in Spain.



A total of 58 contemporary Australian indigenous artists evoke their "roots" and delve into the history of their ancestors, traditions, legends, dreams, travel and nature that surrounds them through recent creations of abstract paintings and audiovisual that are part of the private collection of Marc and Francis Missana Sordello and come to light for the first time in the Valencian Institute of Modern Art (IVAM).