NOBLE SHADOWS: ANCESTRAL ART OF INDONESIA AND INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIA
Now showing until June 2014
Noble shadows explores the close parallels between the spiritual traditions of Indonesia and Indigenous Australia. From pre-historic times, the Indigenous arts of both countries have been a medium for expressing spirituality and reverence for ancestors.
The display features a variety of objects in the medium of woodcarving, ceramics, bark painting and textiles. Among the highlights is a collection of spectacular Borneo spirit masks only recently acquired by the Art Gallery and several eighteenth century Sumatran ‘ship cloths’ whose great fragility has precluded inclusion in previous exhibitions.
Both Indonesian and Indigenous Australian worlds revere the ancestors as responsible for
creating our place in the world and their art often display remarkable parallels, as seen when
comparing a Sulawesi prehistoric stone statue with a contemporary silkscreen printed image of
wandjina figures. The Utopia painter Violet Petyarr, who participated in
collaborative project with Javanese batik-makers, has described this shared world view in Indonesia
Our things have Law and theirs are the same; they have Law as well. Theirs comes from the land and ours comes from the land as well...