PARIS (AFP) – The largest exhibition of modern Aboriginal paintings ever to go on display outside of Australia opens Tuesday at the Quai Branly Museum in the heart of Paris.
“The Sources of Aborigine Painting” features more than 200 works of art, and decorated artefacts, like shields, from which the abstract painting style derives.
“The idea is to show that these painters have a base in their Aboriginal tradition, that there is continuity,” Philippe Peltier, who oversees the Oceanic and South East Asian collections at the museum, told AFP.
The use of dots, repeated patterns, and reds and browns that evoke the desert are characteristic of the style.
Most of the paintings are from 1971-72, when artists like Kaapa Tjampitjinpa, working in Papunya, in Australia’s central desert, started to be recognized.
“It signaled a change – the work was now regarded as art and not artefact,” curator Judith Ryan said of the time period. Ryan helped curate the original exhibit at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne and said it meant a lot to have this exhibit travel to France.
“These are the greatest treasures we have,” Ryan said, “and the only type of art unique to our continent.
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