Thursday, February 09, 2012

Astounding Aboriginal Art

There's an exhibition of art from the Torres Strait (between Australia and New Guinea) at our local museum/art gallery.  Mostly, the work is linocuts, some of them huge.  The photos below are not in the exhibition, but are indicative of the artists' work. 

This is by Alick Tipoti....

...and this is by Dennis Nona.  They were the 2 artists whose work impressed me the most.  Why?  Because these are not ink drawings, they are prints from linocuts.  I have dabbled a bit with linocut prints, and I am absolutely in awe of anyone who can produce highly detailed and exquisitely executed work like this - especially when you consider that some of the blocks could be 2 metres by 1 metre in size.  The amount of control and understanding of design elements is highly sophisticated - yet these are a people who, a century ago, were considered so backward and unintelligent that the ruling British colonists controlled their lives, including their wages, their ability to visit family in other areas and other things that we take for granted.  No doubt some of the reason for this was the absence of written language - like Maori, Aborigines had an oral tradition; and also their lifestyles were very primitive compared with those of Victorian England.  

7 comments:

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Nancy J said...

I admire anyone who can draw, and these are stunning.Did they use natural dyes for the green colour?I guess your term will start again soon,will this year seem easier , being the second year at SIT? Cheers from Jean

Thelma said...

Wow!! I would love to see those stamped on some fabric. So hard to believe those are linocuts. I have played some, but nothing like this.

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The amount of control and understanding of design elements is highly sophisticated.
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