‘Ancestral Modern’ Dazzles at the Blanton

Above: Tjamu Tjamu, 2004, by Jackie Kurltjunyintja Giles. (Image on homepage: Minyma Kutjarra or Two Sisters Creation Story, 2009, by Maringka Baker.)

There’s about a week and a half left to check out the gorgeous show of Australian Aboriginal art at The Blanton Museum of Art. The show, Ancestral Modern, closes on September 9.

The exhibit’s name is apt. The art in this show — dozens of paintings and sculptures from the Kaplan and Levi Collection — is relatively recent, going back only several decades. But many of the designs and themes are based on more than a millennium of Aboriginal art, though, from groups all over Australia.

Mina Mina Jukurrpa or Mina Mina Dreaming, 1999, by Yuendumu Women’s Collaborative

I was first introduced to Aboriginal art through an online class that I’ve mentioned before, Sexing the Canvas: Art and Gender. From Australia’s University of Melbourne, it dealt mainly with Western art, but right at the end delved in the fascinating, and to me, completely new, realm of Aboriginal art. I was amazed by the shapes and colors and vibrancy of these pieces, mainly created by the female elders of different cultures in remote areas of Australia.

Visiting this show at the Blanton was my first chance to see Aboriginal art in person, and it did not disappoint. The paintings are brimming over with life and motion. This is the kind of art I’d want to see when I needed cheering up.

Wati Kutjara or Two Men Story, 2003, by Spinifex Men’s Collaborative

The show features sculptures as well, but these did not speak to me quite as much.

There are two more guided tours left of Ancestral Modern, on September 2 and 9. I recommend you try to get to this show if you can.

Published by Rebecca Johnson

Writer and editor covering arts and culture in Austin, Texas and beyond.

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