As many of you know, I have always been very interested in tribes and indigenous people. I find it so interesting that they have had their own values and ideas for so long, and that even though society has changed tremendously over the past centuries, many of these tribes still believe the same as their ancestors.
One of these examples in Australia are the indigenous people (or Aboriginals & Torres Strait Islanders). The art you will see by the indigenous people does not only incorporate their most important elements (fire, water, wind and earth), but also tells stories about social change. I believe it is important to see how many of these indigenous people feel about these changes that are happening in their lives and how they feel they need to adjust to modern society. The art is often made with natural materials, including wood, fibres, earth pigments and feathers. It shows the core of the earth by using its original materials and through this, it shows the power of the indigenous beliefs.
I mostly like indigenous art that was made before commercialization started. A lot has been written and said about the exploitation of Aboriginal art for economic purposes. Although I do not know enough about it to discuss it in great depth, I do know that I like the art before it was 'art'. When the purpose of making it was solely for the people themselves, for expressing their feelings and beliefs, and not to sell it for commercial purposes.
Even though there are non-aboriginal artists that use dot-painting techniques to resemble the aboriginal art, you will never see me buy that art. I enjoy the real expressions of the indigenous people, I want to hear their stories, their history and their heritage. I am interested in the how and why of their art and what it means to them. To me, art is not and will never be about money, and certainly not about exploitation. Some people might think I am oblivious to the changes, which I am certainly not. But as conservative or naive some may think it is: I will always believe in art for art's sake.
WHO: A variety of Aboriginals & Torres Strait Islanders
WHAT: Indigenous art
WHERE: NGV, Ian Potter Gallery, Melbourne