New Aboriginal art movement showcased at Western Australian Museum - Geraldton

Aboriginal women from Warakurna collaborating on a painting associated with the Lungarta (Blue Tongue lizard) Dreaming. Photo Tim Acker. Courtesy Warakurna Artists

Aboriginal women from Warakurna collaborating on a painting associated with the Lungarta (Blue Tongue lizard) Dreaming. Photo Tim Acker. Courtesy Warakurna Artists

An exhibition of unique works from an Aboriginal art movement emerging from the Western Desert will open this week at the Western Australian Museum – Geraldton.

Warakurna: All the Stories Got into our Minds and Eyes features paintings and sculptures which were produced at Warakurna, a community at the foot of the Rawlinson Ranges in Western Australia, 300 kilometres west of Uluru (Ayers Rock), and will be on display from 13 March.

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

WA Museum – Geraldton Regional Manager Leigh O’Brien said the artworks provide first-hand accounts of significant events which impacted on the community.

“The exhibition is a fantastic way of helping all Australians understand the complex history of Warakurna,” Ms O’Brien said.

The paintings are more figurative in style than traditional Western Desert art and document Warakurna’s history: the coming of explorers, prospectors, missionaries, building roads, missile testing, and people’s return to their homeland.

“The paintings and sculptures tell historical and contemporary stories, recreating scenes of everyday life,” Ms O’Brien said.

Warakurna was launched at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra in December 2012.  It will be on display at the WA Museum – Geraldton until 24 May 2015, before traveling to the WA Museum’s Albany, Kalgoorlie-Boulder and Perth sites.

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 National Museum’s permanent National Historical Collection where they sit alongside early Papunya boards and important works from the Canning Stock Route collection.

Entry to Warakurna is free of charge.  For more information go to http://museum.wa.gov.au/museums/geraldton/warakurna-all-stories-got-our-minds-and-eyes

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.