Drawn from the renowned collections of the National Gallery and The Wesfarmers Collection of Australian Art, this free exhibition surveys historical and contemporary works by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists from across Australia.
Ever Present features more than 100 works by 80 artists as it considers seven overarching and interlinked themes: Ancestors + Creators; Country + Constellations; Community + Family; Culture + Ceremony; Trade + Influence; Resistance + Colonisation; and Innovation + Identity.
Together the works underline the ever-present existence of the First Peoples of Australia. “Ever Present celebrates the creativity, diversity, strength, resilience and pride of early and contemporary Indigenous artists highlighting their artistic, cultural, social and political expressions that reinforce their time immemorial connections and their ever-present presence in this country,” said Tina Baum, Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, National Gallery.
From Albert Namatjira’s Ormiston Gorge, Timothy Cook’s Kulama, and Mabel Julie’s Wardal and Garnkeny to Julie Dowling’s Self-portrait: in our county, Michael Cook’s Broken Dreams #2 and Richard Bell’s Omega (Bell’s Theorem), the works in the exhibition traverse themes of identity, connection, Australia’s contested historical narratives, and the contemporary experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists practising today. Each piece revealing the determination of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists to tell their stories in their own way.
Although a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, Ever Present does not shy away from Australia’s complex histories. The artists contest populist views of Australian history, using art as a tool of resistance and replacing physical weaponry with wit, satire and juxtaposition to confront viewers and encourage conversations that are essential to dispute outdated myths and ideologies.
Ever Present: First Peoples Art of Australia opens free to the public at Art Gallery of Western Australia on 9 December.
Join the livestream!
- Opening event from 6.00pm (9.00pm) https://youtu.be/wg3XVz_NdQY
- Artist Talks from 10.15am (1.15pm)