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Regina Pilawuk Wilson

Regina Pilawuk Wilson (Australian Aboriginal, Marathiel people, Peppimenarti, Daly River region, Northern Territory), Sun Mat (2002), synthetic polymer paint on canvas [Seattle Art Museum, Seattle WA – May 31-Sep 2] Photo: iocolor, Seattle

Ancestral Modern: Australian Aboriginal Art
from the Kaplan & Levi Collection

Seattle Art Museum
Seattle WA – May 31-Sep 2, 2012

Doug Cranmer, Mosquito

Tjumpo Tjapanangka (Australian Aboriginal, Kukatja people, Balgo (Wirrimanu), Kimberley/Western Desert, Western Australia), Wati Kutjarra (Two Brothers Dreaming) (2004), synthetic polymer paint on canvas [Seattle Art Museum, Seattle WA – May 31-Sep 2] Promised gift of Margaret Levi and Robert Kaplan, in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Seattle Art Museum Photo: Susan Cole

The more than 100 pieces from the Kaplan & Levi Collection highlight an important chapter in art history, the resurgence of Australian Aboriginal art through contemporary works that are based on traditional culture and methods.

Since much of the visual practice of the Aboriginal tribes was for sacred purposes, it was not until the 1970s that this sector of art was introduced to outsiders when a mural honouring the Tjala, or Honey Ant Ancestors, was painted on a government school building by men from the Papunya settlement in central Australia.

Included are examples of paintings on canvas, pieces created with bark and natural pigments, and sculptures carved of wood, woven of fibre and cast in bronze.

Many of the artworks presented communicate indigenous concepts through symbolic narratives that relate to their story of creation and to ancestral spirits. A common aesthetic thread of simplified forms and patterning often reflects aerial perspectives of land, storytelling, journeys and totemic representations.

This important collection was assembled over the last 20 years by Seattle couple Robert Kaplan and Margaret Levi who have promised to donate their entire collection to the Seattle Art Museum.

www.seattleartmuseum.org

Allyn Cantor

Kathleen Petyarr

Kathleen Petyarr (Australian Aboriginal, Anmatyerr people, Utopia, Central Desert, Northern Territory), Mountain Devil Lizard Dreaming (1996), synthetic polymer paint on canvas [Seattle Art Museum, Seattle WA – May 31-Sep 2] Photo: iocolor, Seattle


 Sun, Jun 3, 2012