Out of the boxes and into the desert

Through the process of exploring the Berndt Museum of Anthropology’s (BMA) collections we are constantly reminded about stories of origin. The idea of origins within Aboriginal Australia can stretch across families and back thousands of years – yet we still must seek to celebrate the hand of the teller who reflects the ancestral meaning to new audiences, and the potential for paintings to be the proof of this longevity for future generations.

Out of the Boxes and into the Desert is just one particular investigation into the paintings by senior desert artists from the c1970-80 period in our collection. This is the first time that many of these works have been on display due to their previous storage; rolled up in boxes over the past three decades. Artists like Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri, Anatjari No. 1 Tjampitjinpa, Tim Leura Tjapaltjarri and Yala Yala Gibbs Tjungurrayi are familiar names in terms of Aboriginal art history and these works were some of the first to be travelled, exhibited and/or acquired through commission, through the support of Mary Macha, John Kean and of course Ronald Berndt.

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