Literature in our Collection

Isaacs, Jennifer: Spirit Country. Contemporary Australian Aboriginal Art, Hardie Grant Books, Melbourne, und Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 1999, Ausst. Kat. ISBN 1864980494

Table of Contents        ¦         Cover Text        ¦         Book Review

Table of Contents

Hetti Perkins: Our Painting Is a Political Act -x-

The Gantner Myer Aboriginal Art Collection -xv-

Spirit Country -1-

Essay -3-

The Desert -17-

Map -18-

Introduction -19-

Plates 1 to 35 -33-

The Kimberley -109-

Map -110-

Introduction -111-

Plates 36 to 52 -119-

Arnhem Land, Tiwi Islands, and Gulf Country -153-

Map -154-

Introduction -155-

Plates 53 to 97 -167-

Notes -228-

Glossary -230-

Acknowledgments -232-

Further Reading -233-

List of Plates -234-

List of Artists and Their Works -236-

Index -238-

Cover Text

'Spirit Country' explores the vibrant contemporary Aboriginal art of northern and central Australia, with its diverse regional traditions - from the finely cross-hatched bark paintings of Arnhem Land to the mesmerizing dotted canvases of the Central Desert, from the elaborate Pukumani poles of the Tiwi Islands to the broad fields of ocher in contemporary works from the Kimberley. Jennifer Isaacs has been a close observer of the artistic renaissance across Aboriginal Australia since it began during the early 1970s. In 'Spirit Country' she outlines the forces that propelled the movement's initial upsurge and seeks the sources of its continuing vitality. Drawing on the rich resources of the Gantner Myer Collection of Contemporary Aboriginal Art, she traces the widening compass of the movement, and particularly the involvement of women artists, whose works have taken contemporary Aboriginal art in new directions. For the communities of the Central Desert, the Kimberley and Arnhem Land, art is both a much-needed source of income and a vital means of personal and collective expression. The art of these remote communities is intended to send a message to the wider world, to educate and enlighten outsiders about the artists' religious thought and the continuing vitality of their cultures. Theirs is an artistic practice that comes from a conjunction of individual creativity, ancient art-making traditions and contemporary political struggles for land. While the extraordinary abstract qualities of these works have caught the eyes of the Western art world, for those who make them they are also religious documents, maps, personal histories and title deeds to land.