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Archive for the ‘Thailand’ Category

Balgo Hills art: Indigenous Australian art by renowned masters in rare tour through Asia

Posted by artradar on March 3, 2010


CONTEMPORARY INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIAN ART

Bright colors and mythical subjects in 26 works of internationally-renowned Balgo-style Australian desert art on tour in Asia: information about the show and a primer on the Balgo art genre

The exhibition

Balgo: Contemporary Australian Art from the Balgo Hills is an internationally touring exhibition of significant works from Australia’s Artbank collection.

The exhibition shows 26 works by a small community of Indigenous Australians from the Balgo Hills, a desert area in the northeast of Western Australia.

An important and highly respected range of prints by senior Balgo artists sits alongside a collection of works by emerging artists from the region.

Kathleen Paddoon, Nakarra Nakarra, etching on paper, 64 x 39 cm, 2005

image courtesy of TFAM

Balgo Hills

Priests of the German Catholic Pallottine Order established Balgo as a refuge mission in 1939. Unusually, the priests and nuns of the mission encouraged the Indigenous Australians to use their local language and customs, keeping traditional culture alive. The mission moved to the Balgo Hills area, where the community lives today, in 1965.

At Balgo Hills, different language groups were brought together as one community, and the community is collectively known as Kutjungka, meaning “being of one culture”. This mix of language and tradition has heavily influenced the Balgo artworks we see today.

Paintings from the Balgo Hills were first introduced to the world in the 1980s. An adult education centre was built in the community in 1981. Works produced here were shown at the Art Gallery of Western Australia in 1986, in the pivotal exhibition Art from the Great Sandy Desert. The success of this significant exhibition lead to the establishment of the Warlayirti Artists Corporation in 1987.

Susie Bootja Bootja, Kaningarra, near the Canning Stock Route, acrylic on linen, 150 x 76 cm, 2000

image courtesy of TFAM

The Dreaming

The overarching theme expressed by Balgo artists is the Dreaming. The Dreaming is a complex and holistic concept that refers to a time of mythological Ancestral Beings or Sky Heroes, to Law (or the system of moral governance) and to religious beliefs.

Works by Balgo artists portray their ancestral stories of the land or “country” (what Indigenous Australians call land) through the depiction of nature. To Balgo artists, nature is a real replication of the Dreaming. The artists meditate on the Dreaming by depicting nature in their artworks.

Balgo “style” is more true to life than other Western Desert styles. The symbols used in the paintings stem from those used in traditional sand painting and drawing, and from body painting. The artists are known for their vivid choice of colours and balanced, often symmetrical, design. A blend of modernity and tradition is clear in work from the Balgo Hills; traditional tribal myths are recreated using modern acrylic and etching.

Brandy Tjungurrayi, Narroo, acrylic on linen, 120 x 80 cm, 2002

image courtesy of TFAM

The artists

There are a number of significant senior “master” Warlayirti (Balgo Hills) artists, all of whom are internationally recognised.

Lucy Yukenbarri and Susie Bootja Bootja both work with dots; Yukenbarri’s places her’s close together to form scalloped lines while Bootja Bootja creates dotted color fields.

Many of these artists use their various painting styles to represent water sources and the importance these have in their lands: Helicopter Tjungurrayi, Boxer Milner, Fred Tjakamarra, Tjumpo Tjapanangka, Lucy Loomoo and Elizabeth Nyumi.

Commonly, Bob Dingle Tjapanangka and John Lee Tjakamarra portray Luurnpa, the Ancestral Kingfisher, who lead the Kukatja people to their lands in the Dreaming. Brandy Tjungurrayi also portrays important Dreaming figures, but in sharp geometrics.

Kathleen Paddoon is known for her dramatic use of bright colour and a particularly minimalist approach.

Uniquely, Joan Nagomara works in the style of the early days of Balgo’s emergence, using it to show the ritual activities that tie her to her country.

Eubena Nampitjin and Ningie Nangala Nangala work with the hills and rocky outcrops of their countries, representing them in a minimalist linear fashion.

Stand-out emerging artists from the Balgo Hills region include Pauline Sunfly, who paints using intense color combinations, Miriam Baadjo, who presents the important Two Children Dreaming, and Jimmy Tchooga, who paints his father’s creation story.

The tour

Balgo: Contemporary Australian Art from the Balgo Hills has already shown in New Zealand, the Philippines, the USA, Thailand and Taiwan, and is currently exhibiting in Hong Kong. Further destinations include Vietnam, mainland China, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Korea. A touring schedule is available via the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.

KN/KCE

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Posted in Ancestors, Australia, Australian, China, Conceptual, Emerging artists, Identity art, India, Korea, Land art, Landscape, Mythical figures, Painting, Philippines, Social, Taiwan, Thailand, USA | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Myanmar artists explore new media, produce courageous art

Posted by artradar on April 13, 2009


MYANMAR ART

Asian Art News reports that some Burmese artists are bravely stepping outside the restrictions of censors and the pressures of the tourist market to create a new kind of art. Three commercial Thai galleries are supporting them: Suvannabhumi Gallery and La Luna in Chang Mai and Thavibu Gallery in Bangkok.

Aye Ko

Aye Ko

“While Myanmar has a thriving art scene there is an overwhelming predominance of generic Asian subject matter. Rather sentimental and nostalgic the golden temple spires, monks …and busy market scenes…satisfy the narrow tourist demands as well as placating the military junta” writes Steven Pettifor.

However earlier this year Jorn Middleborg worked with Malaysian art historian Shireen Naziree to curate a different kind of show.

The exhibition was called Speaking Alone and incorporated live performances, videos and mixed media works by four important Myanmar artists: Aung Myint, Aye Ko, Phyu Mon and emerging young artist Nyein Chan Su.

Aung Myint

Aung Myint

Aung Myint is regarded by some to be the ‘father of modernism’ in Myanmar. Aung Myint, who lost his mother as an infant, is widely known in S E Asia  for his black and white simple line drawings of mother and child. Examples can be found in museums in Singapore, Malaysa and Japan.

Aye Ko has had some international exposure with a solo exhibition in New York in 2002 and more recently in Europe as part of Thermocline of Art, New Asian Waves 2007. He has produced digital prints of multiple figures daubed in black, white and red looking wild and untamed. See a clip of his video Transfixed: Silent Escape.

Phyu Mon, Hope

Phyu Mon, Hope

Phyu Mon is the only female artist in the show and works in paint, video, performance and poetry and her artwork is concerned with expressing hope and uses symbolism to express disagreement with the ruling party.

Nyein Chan Su has produced a new series People in which inkjet print portraits of fellow activist artists – agreeing to pose was a courageous act – are overlaid with red lettering to parody official stamps. See clip of Nyein Chan Su video: Goldfish.

Asian Art News has published a thorough review and full information about the art scene and artists as well as an interview with Shireen Naziree. It is well worth a read but is only available in print direct from the publisher or a library such as Asia Art Archive.

Nyein Chan Su, People

Nyein Chan Su, People

Here is a small selection of notable points:

Art schools

There are only a couple of major art school based in Mandalay and Yangon which focus on early modernist theory. This somewhat formal and rigid training has caused artists to become self-taught or take private lessons.

Performance art

During traditional religious Nat ceremonies there are performances where worshippers go into a trance so in this sense Myanmar has a long history of performance art says curator Shireen Naziree. This medium has become popular with artists in recent years perhaps because it is cheap and informal and mobile so can easily sidestep the attention of censors says Jorn Middleborg.

Constraints on art scene in Myanmar

Due to political isolation, artists lack exposure to new art trends and they have limited access to information and funding. The economic situation constrains their ability to buy materials and the lack of English prevents Myanmar artists taking up residencies abroad.

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Posted in Bangkok, Gallery shows, Myanmar/Burmese, New Media, Photography, Political, Southeast Asian, Thailand | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »