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Rarrk - London at Bargehouse Gallery

LONDON.- In September 2007 a major exhibition of over 100 works of art from Arnhem Land will take place on London’s South Bank, featuring some of Australia’s leading contemporary artists. Josh Lilley Fine Art in conjunction with Maningrida Arts and Culture (community based art centre responsible for the cultural assets of the Aboriginal people in the Maningrida region), will be exhibiting an important body of new work from Western Arnhem Land Australia. This will include painting and sculpture by the internationally acclaimed John Mawurndjul, as well as works by leading artists Samuel Namunjdja and Owen Yalandja. The exhibition aims to readdress certain preconceptions of Aboriginal art being purely ethnographic or anthropological, by highlighting in London its international status as a vibrant contemporary art form, giving a new audience the opportunity to view the development of this groundbreaking movement within the context of a contemporary exhibition space.

Historically, one of the challenges of representing Aboriginal art is that the number of artists and different styles are so vast that exhibitions can sometimes become generic in nature. However in the last five years with the proliferation of solo exhibitions such as John Mawurndjul’s landmark retrospective at Museum Tinguely Basel – October 2005, and his epic recent commission for Jean Nouvel’s new Musée du quai Branly in Paris – June 2006, much has changed as collectors and art lovers have begun to recognize the significant position this work now commands within the contemporary art world.

Arguably the most dynamic group of artists to come out of Australia for a generation, this will be the first time a major survey exhibition of their work has been conducted in London in such depth. Having been recently received to mass critical acclaim through retrospectives in Basel, Hannover, and Sydney in the past 2-3 years, there is currently great momentum surrounding a desire to place their work within a contemporary art dialogue. A recent review in Time Magazine proclaims ‘Mawurndjul has taken bark painting into the exalted realm of fine art’.

RARRK - LONDON will present over 100 paintings and sculptures by 15 different artists. The exhibition will include multiple sculptural installations, video, and a selection of more than 30 bark paintings ranging from 60 cm to 2.5 metres in height. An extensive full colour catalogue featuring essays from contemporary art critics as well as Australian academics, will accompany the exhibition.

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