As you might have gathered, I have been having trouble with this blog. For some reason the WordPress filtering software decided I was acting badly when I posted the Thanksgiving post. No sooner had I published the piece than I received a notice the blog had been shut down. At the same time, a pointed notice appeared on the site, saying the blog had been shut down due to violations of policy.
I immediately e-mailed the WordPress staff requesting aid. Unfortunately it was Thanksgiving…. Anyway, when I awoke this morning I found a very nice, apologetic note from staff, informing me the blog was back up. I am glad to be back, and a bit chagrined. I do wish they had simply blocked the blog, rather than pointing fingers. This all occurred in a week in which my primary computer failed and had to be replaced.
Yesterday we drove over to Hanover, New Hampshire to see Crossing Cultures: Te Owen and Wagner Collection of Contemporary Aboriginal Australian Aboriginal Art. The exhibition is ongoing through mid-March at the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College.
The show occupies the entire second story of the museum. I have seen many reproductions of contemporary Australian Aboriginal art, yet never the actual work. As I stepped from the elevator I was greeted by many large, brightly colored paintings. The room seemed to literally sing! The exhibition also includes photography, sculpture, and video.
Painting has proven to be a way for many Aboriginal people to keep in touch with myth, landscape, and tradition. Yet the stories behind the paintings are frequently those of loss and grief. Still, artists are reaching back to times before the whole scale destruction of sacred sites and aboriginal homelands. These paintings remember the land as it was before relocation, alcohol, and residential schooling.
An accompanying video discussed these, and other threads in the art. Through interviews with several of the artists the videographer brought the viewer into the everyday and mythic worlds of the artists. These conversations were simultaneously uplifting and heartbreaking. They were also familiar.
A few weeks ago, Aboriginal Art and Culture published a thorough discussion of the exhibition. I hope you’ll take a few minutes and read about the show in detail.
In March the exhibition travels to the Midwest before returning home.