Department of Art History Research Seminar: ‘The Master from Marnpi’ & ‘Arnhem Land Bark Painting’
Alec O’Halloran, “The Master from Marnpi (2018), a biography of Papunya Tula artist Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri (c1923-1998)”
To cut a very long story short, I became interested in Aboriginal art in the mid 1990s and published a biography of a leading Western Desert artist in 2018. Researching and writing a biography of someone you’ve never met is a journey in itself. It was doubly fascinating, and challenging, when the subject’s culture and language was so different to my non-Indigenous background. In this talk I focus on how I included images of Namarari’s art in the biography. There are numerous points of interest: artistic practice, career, innovation, style, subject matter, provenance and relationships. By way of examples I’ll show how various artworks were selected for inclusion, where they were placed in the text, and how they contribute to the narrative.
Marie Geissler, “Arnhem Land Bark Painting. The Western Reception 1850-1990”
Arnhem Land Bark Painting. The Western Reception 1850-1990, investigates how Arnhem Land bark painting came to be seen as contemporary art. It documents the shifts in perception that occurred in regards to emerging understandings of the sophistication of Aboriginal people and their art. Importantly, it identifies how and when these happened, and what were the mechanisms that allowed these perspectives to become widely understood by mainstream audiences, drawing on data from books, catalogues, press accounts and interview material documented through speaking to key anthropologists, curators, art gallery directors, art historians and dealers who were active in the field from the 1960s. This lecture presents a summary overview of the major events that were critical in its history and highlight aspects, that I found particularly interesting.