Gifted: Aboriginal art 1971–2011

29 Mar 2013 - 29 Sep 2013

Collection Focus gallery, Level 5, Te Papa

Previous Exhibition


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The main thing I’d like Ngapaki [non-indigenous people] to understand is that our art ... is informed by our ancient traditions and the culture that is our life.

Djambawa Marawili, Chairperson of the Association of Northern, Kimberley, and Arnhem Aboriginal Artists

Gifted features works from Te Papa’s extraordinary Aboriginal art collection – a generous gift from the Aboriginal Arts Board of the Australia Council in 1976.

The collection, comprising over 200 works, marks the Board’s bold vision of the 1970s and 80s. That vision was to show Aboriginal art – which was treated indifferently in Australia at the time – as world class and spectacularly diverse.

Also on display are more recent works. These reveal the emergence of urban-based Australian indigenous artists since the 1970s, and the growing recognition of indigenous artists in the contemporary art world.

Our thanks to Aboriginal art scholar Brenda L Croft for her curatorial knowledge and advice in developing this exhibition, and to Vivien Johnson for her research into Te Papa’s Papunya Tula paintings.  

Please note

We respectfully advise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islands people that Gifted includes the works and names of deceased people and may cause distress.

Selected Works

Angry (Scared Too: After Colin McCahon)

Gordon Bennett

1993

Bushfire at Djundji

Tommy Wilitji Tjakamarra

circa 1975

The legends of the Manggalili

Narritjin Maymuru

circa 1976

Title unknown

Narritjin Maymuru

circa 1976

The tree of life

Manydjilnga Maymuru

circa 1976

The Snapper Ancestor

Balaka Maymuru

1976

The creation of the Djang’kawu people

Mutitjpuy Mununggurr

circa 1976

The legend of the Djang’kawu

Milirrpum Marika

1976

Gurrmirringu, the Dreamtime Hunter

David Malangi Daymirringu

circa 1976

The mortuary ceremony

John Bulunbulun

circa 1976

The Wagilag myth

Paddy Dhathangu

circa 1976

The Sacred Goanna

Marrainmol

circa 1976

The Namorodo Spirit Being

Marrainmol

circa 1976

The legendary serpent/Rainbow Serpent

Balang (Mick) Kubarrku

circa 1976

The Giant Water Spirit

Peter (Djakku) Marralwanga

circa 1976

Saltwater crocodile

Balang (Mick) Kubarrku

circa 1976

Melbourne girls in their Marys

Destiny Deacon

2011

Real hair

Destiny Deacon

2011

Great uncle and great nephew

Destiny Deacon

2011

Cousins

Destiny Deacon

2011

Pregnant bride

Destiny Deacon

2011

Aunties keep a watch out

Destiny Deacon

2011

Ceremonial headdress

Unknown

circa 1976

Life at Yuwa Dreaming

Billy Stockman Tjapaltjarri, and Tim Leura Tjapaltjarri

1974

Fire Dreaming at Parikulaman

Long Jack Phillipus Tjakamarra

1975

The Storm Water Dreaming

Kaapa Tjampitjinpa Mbitjana

1975

Water comes to the wild potato men

Mick Wallankarri Tjakamarra

circa 1975

Heat

Christian Thompson

2010

Tunga (bark basket)

Unknown

circa 1976

Ceremonial bird

Unknown

circa 1976

Ceremonial bird, pelican

Declan Apuatimi

circa 1976

Ceremonial bird

Victor Adams Punguatji

circa 1976

Purukapali, ceremonial male figure with feather headdress

Declan Apuatimi

circa 1976

Ceremonial male/female figure

Sugarbag Kapiti Wonaeammeri

circa 1976

Twined Pandanus dilly bag

Unknown

circa 1976

Batji dilly bag

Unknown

circa 1976

Gun-gorlpon dilly bag

Unknown

circa 1976

Djerrk dilly bag

Alice Gundaburrburr

circa 1976