Indigenous Art Collection
Broadly defined, museums in the European tradition encompass those of science, history and art, and this also includes art galleries, as well as other 'specialist' facilities like Aboriginal Keeping Places. Historically, public galleries and museums have functioned to acquire, preserve and research 'collections', and to make objects from their collections accessible to the broader public through exhibitions. In this context they help their audiences - general and specialist - understand the world by employing objects and ideas to interpret the past and present, and to imagine the future. While this broad definition generally holds true with regard to an institutional contribution to greater understanding of the arts and sciences, the disciplinary underpinnings of each have not always been united with regard to Aboriginal material culture. More recently, considerations of Australian colonial history, and the relative roles of Aboriginal people in the face of colonial change, have begun to address both the agency of Aboriginal people historically and the integrity of Aboriginal cultural determination into the present. As alluded to in the opening quote, collections of Aboriginal material culture might more meaningfully be seen to represent the continuing agency of Aboriginal art and artists, despite the different motivating ideologies of these collecting institutions.