Graham Ryles OAM KSJ and the Board of the Ursula Hoff Institute Inc (UHI)invite you to the Ursula Hoff Institute Contemporary Lecture which is part of the ICOM CC Conference (ICOM-CC is the largest of the International Committees of ICOM (International Council of Museums). The UHI lecture will feature in the ICOM CC Conference Program.
Aboriginal Art Centres -The good, the bad and the ugly
Tuesday 16 September 2014, 6.00 – 7.30 pm
RMIT Storey Hall, Building 16, 342 Swanston Street, Melbourne
Aboriginal Art Centres are a key foundation stone of the Aboriginal art market, particularly in remote area Australia. However, such art centres evoke mixed responses, with some suggesting their multiple social and cultural functions within their communities interfere with the business of producing and selling art. In this public lecture, coinciding with the launch of the RMIT Gallery exhibition Warlayirti: The Art of Balgo(16 September – 8 November). The exhibition curator Dr Jacqueline Healy debates ‘The good, the bad and the ugly’ of Aboriginal Art Centres, together with Professor Ian McLean, of the University of Wollongong. McLean’s Publications include The Art of Gordon Bennett and White Aborigines: Identity Politics in Australian Art; and Sister Alice Dempsey, who has been involved in the beginnings of the art movement in Balgo through the Adult Education Centre in the 1980s.
Key issues for discussion:
Are Aboriginal artists better placed with private dealers than working through their local art centres?
Has the economic prosperity of a few major artists has damaged key aspects of Aboriginal society?
Are Aboriginal art centres the very embodiment of the assertion of Australian Indigenous culture in communicating cultural connection to country through art?
Sister Alice Dempsey went to Balgo in 1981 and was Principal of the Adult Education Centre from 1981 to 1987. She was instrumental in encouraging people to celebrate their culture through art. She developed the role of Wirrumanu Adult Education Centre in Balgo. Through her involvement in the organisation of Father Peile’s Jubilee in 1981 she asked the men to paint banners to commemorate the event. Over the last thirty years, Sister Alice has returned to Balgo in various capacities. Her last role was with Boystown. She retired in 2012 and returned to Ireland.
Professor Ian McLean is a well-known commentator on Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australian art and the intersection of Indigenous and settler cultures. He has published extensively in Australia and overseas. His books include The Art of Gordon Bennett; White Aborigines: Identity Politics in Australian Art; and How Aborigines Invented the Idea of Contemporary Art. He is Research Professor of Contemporary Art at the University of Wollongong and an Adjunct Professor University of Western Australia, and serves on the advisory boards of the journals World Art and National Identities.
Exhibition Curator, Dr Jacqueline Healy PhD, MBA, BA (Hons) is the curator of the Medical History Museum at the University of Melbourne. She was the inaugural Director of Bundoora Homestead Art Centre, the public art gallery of the City of Darebin, from 2002 to 2011. Previous positions include Director of the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory and Director of Public Programs, National Gallery of Victoria. Jacqueline Healy was awarded her PhD in 2006 on marketing art from remote area communities focusing on Balgo and Warmun. She has visited Balgo annually since 2000 undertaking extensive work in the Warlayirti Artists Archives and the church archives and was responsible for locating banners and the original documentation as well as cataloguing the Wirrumanu Adult Education Centre collection.
For more information please see http://www.icom-cc.org