This exhibition presents a selection of artworks by Aboriginal Australian contemporary artists that are both gifts to the Nevada Museum of Art and loans from private collectors. Most museum acquisitions of Aboriginal Australian art in the United States have arisen recently from the generosity of private collectors, but the Nevada Museum of Art began working with Aboriginal artists in remote desert communities more than a decade ago through research projects in association with our Center for Art + Environment. By 2017 the Center had acquired more than a hundred paintings from field projects for its collections, and today the Museum hosts one of the largest public collections of Aboriginal art in the United States. The Museum has also supported cultural exchange opportunities for visiting Aboriginal Australian artists and Great Basin Indigenous communities.
The Museum’s interest in these works grew out of the idea that Nevada and Australia share many cultural and geographic characteristics, such as vast expanses of open land, rich natural resources, diverse Indigenous peoples, legacies of colonialism, and the ongoing conflicts that inevitably arise when these factors coexist. Aboriginal Australian art has its deepest roots in transmitting essential knowledge from generation to generation through stories, song, dance, and body decorations for more than forty thousand years. Their contemporary art is relevant to all of our collections and educational endeavors, whether those are focused on art and the environment, how humans alter the landscape and interact with it, and even how we code data and knowledge.
This exhibition is generously sponsored by Martha Hesse Dolan and Robert E. Dolan