Newton and Louise Tarble Gallery | Floor 2
The Inside World: Contemporary Aboriginal Australian Memorial Poles from the Debra and Dennis Scholl Collection presents 94 works by contemporary Aboriginal artists from Arnhem Land. Traditionally, these poles—named lorrkkon in the west and larrakitj in the east —marked the final point in Aboriginal mortuary rites. They signified the moment when the spirit of the deceased had finally returned home—when they had left all vestiges of the mundane “outside” world, and become one with the “inside” world of the ancestral realm. Today, these poles are made as works of art.
The artists included in the exhibition are some of the most respected contemporary artists working in Australia today. These include John Mawurndjul, who was recently honored with a retrospective at the Museum Tinguely in Basel, and Djambawa Marawili, whose work has been included in the Moscow, Istanbul and Sydney Biennales. Yet, it is not art world acclaim that these artists seek. The power of their work comes from its desire to communicate the persistence and beauty of Aboriginal culture to the world, to scratch beneath the surface and show what hides there.
The Inside World is drawn from the collections of Miami-based collectors and philanthropists Debra and Dennis Scholl. The exhibition is the third touring exhibition of their Aboriginal art collections, following the successful exhibitions Marking the Infinite: Contemporary Women Artist from Aboriginal Australia, and No Boundaries: Aboriginal Australian Contemporary Abstract Painting, which toured to 12 museums in North America. All three exhibitions are organized by the Nevada Museum of Art.
Edited by Henry F. Skerritt with contributions by Murray Garde, Louise Hamby, Howard Morphy, Kimberley Moulton, Diana Nawi, Wukun Wanambi, and David Wickens, this book explores the complex histories of memorial poles in Australia.