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New Aboriginal art movement showcased at National Museum of Australia
Camel pack-saddle about 1990. Wood, cloth and straw. This pack-saddle was used by Andrew Harper of Outback Camel Company on recent expeditions. The design follows those used by Afghan cameleers and inland explorers, like gold-seeker Harold Lasseter. Lasseter is depicted, leading a black camel with a saddle similar to this one, in Eunice Yunurupa Porter’s painting, Lasseter Story. Acknowledgement: © NMA.
CANBERRA.- An exhibition of unique works from a new Aboriginal art movement emerging from the Western Desert opened at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra on Friday 7 December, 2012 and be on display until November, 2013.

Warakurna: All the Stories Got into our Minds and Eyes, a collection of paintings, woven fibre and carved wood sculptures were produced at Warakurna, a community at the foot of the Rawlinson Ranges in Western Australia, 300 kilometres west of Uluru (Ayers Rock). The works are the product of Warakurna Artists, a thriving art centre in the heart of the Ngaanyatjarra Lands.

Produced in the last two years, the paintings in the Warakurna exhibition are more figurative in style than traditional Western Desert art. The artists from Warakurna use their painting to document their history – the coming of explorers, prospectors and missionaries, building roads, missile testing and their return to their homeland.

“At the National Museum we are interested not only in history, but also in the way in which historical events have changed the lives of Australians. The painters of Warakurna have produced a unique and original body of artworks. They are extremely valuable as intriguing and first-hand accounts of significant events in the life of an Aboriginal community,” said Andrew Sayers, Director of the National Museum of Australia.

Western Desert people were among the last groups of Aboriginal people in Australia to have contact with Europeans. Warakurna lay in the middle of the flight path of missiles launched from Woomera in the South Australian desert in the 1960s.

The majority of the paintings in the exhibition were donated to the National Museum by Wayne and Vicki McGeoch under the Commonwealth Government’s Cultural Gifts Program in 2011. The National Museum purchased a further 10 paintings in 2012. All of the paintings have been included in the Museum’s permanent National Historical Collection where they sit alongside early Papunya boards and important works from the Canning Stock Route collection.

Warakurna: All the Stories Got into our Minds and Eyes, is on display in the First Australians Focus Gallery at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra from 7 December 2012 to 3 November, 2013. Admission is free.



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