GULARRI. Waterscapes from Northern Australia
- Art exhibitions
Organised around a selection of bark paintings and sculptures collected in the 1960s by the French artist of Czech origin Karel Kupka, the exhibition will shed light on the ways in which Yolngu from Milingimbi, in Arnhem Land, relate to the waterscapes of their territories.
While Australia is often perceived from France like a vast arid continent, the exhibition will show the significance Yolngu place on aquatic representations, from maritime spaces and open sea, to coastal wetlands, intertidal mangrove areas and freshwater ecosystems.
Conceived by the descendants of the artists as part of a complex consultation process led by the community art centre, the selection brings to the fore the ecological relationality of these fragile environments where human and non-human activities have coexisted for thousands of years.
Through these paintings and the poetic texts composed collectively for the exhibition, the Yolngu artists reveal their sacred cartography which links places and ancestors, mythical events and property rights, connections and kinship relations. An experimental film made by the Milingimbi art centre team and a series of original audiovisual documents will bring the Yolngu voice to the heart of the exhibition.
Presented with the support of the Labex Les Passés dans le présent, Investissements d’avenir, réf. ANR-11-LABX-0026-01, Gularri is the result of an innovative co-curatorship between the French and Australian partners.
Conception and curation:
Joe Dhamanydji, artist and ceremonial leader of the Gupapuyngu clan
Jessica De Largy Healy, anthropologist, Chargée de recherche au CNRS, Laboratoire d’ethnologie et de sociologie comparative – Université Paris Nanterre
Nicolas Garnier, Responsable de l’Unité Patrimoniale Océanie Musée du quai Branly-Jacques Chirac
Milingimbi Art and Culture Aboriginal Corporation
Ruth Nalmakarra, artist and ceremonial leader of the Liyagawumirr clan
More information on http://www.quaibranly.fr
Photo: Joe Dhamanydji and Salome Harris, photo courtesy of Milingimbi Art and Culture 2021