Native Paths American Indian Art
from the Collection of Charles and Valerie Diker
Alisa LaGamma: Genesis:
Ideas of Origin in African Sculpture
Alisa LaGamma: Echoing Images:
Couples in African Sculpture (Metropolitan Museum of Art Series)
Alisa LaGamma: Art and Oracle:
African Art and Rituals of Divination
Elena Phipps: The Colonial Andes:
Tapestries and Silverwork, 1530-1830 (Metropolitan Museum of Art Series)
Eric Kjellgren: Adorning the World :
Art of the Marquesas Islands (Metropolitan Museum of Art Publications)
Eric Kjellgren: Splendid Isolation:
Art of Easter Island
Heidi King: Rain of the Moon:
Silver in Ancient Peru
Kristi Butterwick: Heritage of Power:
Ancient Sculpture from West Mexico : The Andrall E. Pearson Family Collection (Metropolitan Museum of Art Series)
Ralph T. Coe: The Responsive Eye:
Ralph T. Coe and the Collecting of American Indian Art
Virginia-Lee Webb: Perfect Documents:
Walker Evans and African Art, 1935
Wallach Gallery. Figures of Makonde men, around 1970-80, one carrying a boy and a suitcase, the other a water pipe and a spear.
via NYTimes, Art In Review [additional linkage provided by RGL]:
A Century of Makonde Masquerade in Mozambique
By HOLLAND COTTER
Published: November 2, 2007
Through Dec. 8
Goodbye to timeless Africa, darkest Africa, out-of-Africa and the "primitive" Africa that made Western Modernism sexy — to all the blinding stereotypes that shape the way Africa continues to be viewed internationally. Such farewells form the very basis of African art history as a progressive discipline today. And they clearly underlie exhibitions like this one, organized by Alexander Ives Bortolot, a lecturer in African art history at Dartmouth College and a Columbia University doctoral candidate.
Art from Mozambique, and East Africa in general, is scantily represented in public collections, and the art of the Makonde people has been little studied in recent years. So Mr. Bortolot is filling a scholarly need. And he approaches his subject in an interesting way, not through objects per se, but through the masked performance tradition called mapiko in which they play an integral role.
The show begins with 19th- and early-20th-century sculptures that suggest the roots of the masquerades performed by masked and costumed Makonde men — participation by women was forbidden — who assumed the personas of ancestral spirits who protected and preserved order in the community. Beginning in the 1920s, its spiritual utility diminished, but its role as inventive social commentary increased. When a socialist government came to power after independence in 1964, the masquerade became a vehicle for a new ethic of self-reliance and social equality. Women began participating and created masquerades of their own.
Now, after a protracted civil war and the establishment of multiparty democracy, the mapiko tradition is thriving in freestyle mode. Some performers present it as pure entertainment, others as social critique, still others as a way to restore old spiritual meanings. In every case this is a transformative art at the center of society, not a luxury item at its fringes. It encompasses ideas of repetition and change, and Western art can learn from it.
Mr. Bortolot captures all of this thrillingly. And Wallach, in presenting the show, does exactly what a university gallery should so. It showcases fresh research; fleshes out that research with marvelous and unfamiliar objects; and distills it in a catalog of nuanced clarity, written by the curator. Congratulations all around.
via e-flux :
REMIX: NEW MODERNITIES IN A POST-INDIAN WORLD
2301 N. Central Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85004
In Remix: New Modernities in a Post-Indian World, 15 contemporary Native artists have much to say about the modern world. The exhibition presents mixed media work on canvas and in video, photography, sculpture, collage and performance. The artists explore broad themes of class, gender and globalization as well as engage in the more personal territory of family and community. Remix opened October 6, 2007, at the Heard Museum.
In one of several essays in the exhibition catalogue, Heard Museum curator Joe Baker, Delaware poses these questions: "Why are indigenous artists not allowed to celebrate the present as other artists do? Why do we require of Native artists a myth or fantasy, an iconography? What became of the celebrated ideal of multiculturalism, a world composed of ever-changing blends and mixtures?"
In response, Baker and co-curator Gerald McMaster, Cree turn the microphone over to the Remix artists who defy expectations and debunk biased mythology with their smart, complex and often satirical art. Much of the exhibit explores what it means to be of mixed heritage with strong ties -- and sometimes absent ties -- to Native communities.
Dustinn Craig, White Mountain Apache/Navajo, sees an analogy between skateboarding culture and complex traditions of tribal life. His video, 4 Wheel War Pony, tells the story of young Apache skateboarders. His artist statement explains, "Apache kids with skateboards live with dreams so large they will never dare to tell anyone. Yet those dreams get a little smaller each year, with the death of another friend, or the impossible success of another."
Franco Mondini-Ruiz, who is a Tejano of Mexican-American and Italian stock, negates stereotypes by humorously embracing them. For Remix, his participation becomes performance as the artist creates and sells 100 paintings in a live marketplace. His paintings and sculptures are created from tchotchkies found in thrift and souvenir shops, and the performance is a statement on the "business" of collecting art.
Cree artist Kent Monkman appropriates 19th century romantic landscapes to bring out an erotic perversity that underscores pop cultural representations of early relationships between Native Americans and European settlers. In Remix, the artist appears as the "half breed" drag queen, Miss Chief Share Eagle Testickle. This alter ego is also the purported creator of the work, which includes a suggestive video installation called "Shooting Geronimo," shown inside a 20-plus-foot tipi created in crystal.
Video games are the territory of Zuni artist Alan Natachu. In his ongoing project, he satirizes stereotyped American Indians myths that dominate the current video gaming industry with images like the blood thirsty Indian Warrior.
Artist Anna Tsouhlarakis, of Navajo and Greek heritage, challenges stereotypes through role reversal. In her video "Let's Dance," she struggles to learn diverse steps of other ethnic dances including an Irish jig, line dancing and a Haitian voodoo dance. As student rather than teacher, Tsouhlarakis steps into a new role; no longer is she the "outsider" performing Native traditions for curious strangers.
This exhibition was organized by the Heard Museum, Phoenix, and the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian and co-curated by Joe Baker and Gerald McMaster. Remix will be on view at the Heard through April 27, 2008, and travels to the Smithsonian's George Gustav Heye Center in New York in May 2008.
via The New Yorker, November 5, 2007:
by Peter Schjeldahl
One recent Sunday at the Met, when "The Age of Rembrandt" was as jammed as a clown car, a few viewers had the run of an astonishing sculpture show, "Eternal Ancestors: The Art of the Central African Reliquary." Smartly chosen objects, most from the nineteenth century, enable instant connoisseurship of traditions whose famous impact on modern art, via Picasso et al., is incidental to their quality: better than modern art, by and large. No Western master improves on the formal genius of the best Fang reliquary figures (made to guard vessels full of ancestral remains) and Kwele masks. Focus on details of the black, glisteningly oiled Fang pieces: rhythmic elongation and compression of body parts, heads domed like cosmic eggs, sublimely abstracted hair plaits, and backs whose subtle planes flabbergast. Some of the unknown artists were powerful and crude, others elegant and a mite bland. But the maker of the statue that, when shown in London in 1933, was dubbed "the Black Venus" beggars Brancusi.
[click above to listen]
via WNYC.org, The Leonard Lopate Show (October 15, 2007):
Art from Africa's Equatorial Rainforests
Curator Alisa LaGamma joins Leonard to speak about "Eternal Ancestors: The Art of the Central African Reliquary," a special exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It features sculptures from Africa's equatorial rainforests and explores how they've influenced early 20th century artists.
via Rhizome.org, 10-12-07 :
Storytelling, on a universe-shaping scale and in a spastic, homespun-costume style, has underpinned most of Bay Area-artist Kamau Amu Patton's work, from advertising posters mounted on the sides of bus shelters to animistic works on paper. Having trained in sociology and physics before completing an MFA at Stanford University, the artist's background in both social critique and the ordering principals of the cosmos both come into play in his video-focused installation work, which borrows from the vernacular of African American cable-access cult leaders. Spinning eccentric cosmologies of divine kingship that cross invented hybrids of African and Christian religious ritual with the low-budget aesthetics of local programming, the artist uses this sub genre of American television to create sometimes ridiculously overblown rites and iconographies surrounding apocalyptic prophesies. Rather than a parody of TV mystics, however, the work traces the media conditions under which these kinds of millenarian narratives are told and their visionary creators find a pulpit. Promising to investigate "the media produced of African American cult activity in America, including the 5 Percent Nation, Nuwaubian Nation, and the Black Hebrew Israelites," an exhibition of his recent work is currently on view at Machine Project, in Los Angeles. Here video work is accompanied by sculptural objects related to occult practices in an installation that speaks volumes about American folk narratives playing out on television as it takes up the conventions of the cable cult genre.
This entry was posted by William Hanley on Friday, October 12th, 2007 at 8:03 am.
via Artnet Magazine, 10-11-07, + additional linkage provided by RGL:
by Ben Street
On the surface, Aboriginal Australian art is easily understood as a special kind of ethnic abstraction that offers both formalist invention and a spiritual component, qualities that are, unsurprisingly, also found in abstract art in the West. "Rarrk London" -- the word "rarrk" refers to crosshatching -- recently brought more than 100 works by about 15 artists from Western Arnhem Land in Australia to the Bargehouse on London's South Bank, only a short walk away from Tate Modern. The exhibition was organized by Josh Lilley Fine Art, a gallery founded a year ago, in cooperation with Maningrida Arts and Culture.
Lilley has used the Bargehouse's sprawling industrial spaces to good advantage. With its weathered steel beams and blisters of paint, the building is suited to avant-garde art production, and discreetly if ironically articulates Lilley's stated aim to "bring contemporary Aboriginal Australian art in line with other contemporary art shows in London." Spread over four floors of this vast riverside warehouse, spotlighted or aglow with natural daylight, the bark paintings and spindly figurative sculptures reacted to the space and each other in a pointedly "fine art" way.
Interestingly enough, despite the respect that most of us give to indigenous art forms, their presentation can still carry a certain sense of disenfranchisement. In "Rarrk London," this "outsider effect" is verbalized in the show's documentary (shown as part of the exhibition), in which dealers and journalists alike voice their bewilderment at the lack of critical support for the work, and promise that a renaissance is just around the corner. Here, hope seems to lie in one man, John Mawurndjul, a kind of Luke Skywalker of Aboriginal art, whose steady rise to prominence -- and steadily rising prices -- this show presumably will quicken. (Mawurndjul's work sells for as much as £24,000; other works in the show begin at about £1,500.)
Mawurndjul occupies an odd position in contemporary art. On the one hand, he's been the subject of a major retrospective at Basel's Museum Tinguely and made a huge installation at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris. On the other, he makes art according to an age-old process of stripping bark from trees, fire-treating it, and painting its smooth interior with highly elaborate abstract patterns. One day he's posing for the cover of Time magazine, and the next he's back in his Arnhem Land outstation home amid the swirling dust and sluggish rivers. Mawurndjul is an apt reflection of the liminal status of Aboriginal art, and his work -- and that of his contemporaries also shown here, including Samuel Namunjdja, Timothy Wulanjbirr and Kay Lindjuwanga -- plays out this position with often fascinating results.
An initial look at works such as Mawurndjul's Mirelk Site (2007), an apparently abstract painting on an oblong slice of stringybark, reveals certain formal echoes of the tropes of Western abstraction. Bands of minute crosshatched lines in natural ochre pigment (the Rarrk technique originates in body painting) fill the inner surface of the bark, with waves of thinner white and black lines running across it in a distorted grid, like an Agnes Martin reflected in rippling water. The sinuous lines of the grid -- and the fine mesh of the Rarrk lines -- reveal an acceptance, even an elaboration, of the uneven surface of the ground. Natural variations in the hues allow the painting to pulse with subtle tonal relationships. It's as discreetly expressive as an Eva Hesse drawing, allowing the discontinuities of the medium to evoke a sense of organic presence.
The dispute* that followed the 1984 exhibition, "Primitivism in 20th Century Art," warned us against interpretation of the sort that rips objects from their native context for contemplation within the museum -- but times have changed, at least in this particular region. Aboriginal bark painting was responsive to market forces as soon as their presence was felt, and now, in fact, art from Western Arnhem Land has echoed the teleological narrative of Western art history, moving away from a naïve, spaceless figuration towards an allover abstraction immediately reminiscent of post-war American painting. A sense of primitive craft remains, however, and gives the works their own distinction: undulating away from the wall, Marundjul's pieces play against the flatness of Western abstraction, yearning away from the white cube with a sort of homesickness.
It is in this sense that the bark paintings acquire their political dimension as esthetic declarations of land ownership and cultural preservation. Every material used -- from the fire-treated bark to the ochre pigments and delek, the white clay used to create the circular elements in Mawurndjul's Milmilngkan Site (2007) -- derives from the artists' immediate geographical surroundings. Even the titles refer to specific locations; form, material and meaning are so tightly interwoven that they acquire a kind of conceptual integrity. But it's in their neither-here-nor-there identity that the most successful works acquire a resonance that goes beyond the "ethnographic" bracket. Their awkwardness is something to be celebrated.
BEN STREET is a teacher, lecturer and critic living in London.
* See Thomas McEvilley, "Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief: '"Primitivism"' in Twentieth-Century Art' at the Museum of Modern Art in 1984", Artforum (Nov. 1984), and the subsequent exchange of polemical letters in Artforum, (Feb. and May 1985) between MoMA curators (William Rubin + Kirk Varnedoe) and Thomas McEvilley. This material was eventually republished in Uncontrollable Beauty: Toward a New Aesthetics, Bill Beckley, ed. Allworth Press, New York, 1998.
via NYTimes, additional links courtesy of RGL:
Keeping Watch Over the Dead
By HOLLAND COTTER
Published: October 5, 2007
Is she an infant, a wrestler, a goddess or what? Sunk in thought or entranced by sounds only she can hear? Her flawless skin is dark but glows. Her body is organic but abstract, with seeds for eyes, succulents for arms, and mushroomlike shoulders melting into breasts. In the perfect sleek globe of her head, her face is a scooped-out heart.
You'll find this stunner, beaming with ambiguity, in "Eternal Ancestors: The Art of the Central African Reliquary" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She was carved in the 19th century by a Fang artist in what is now Gabon. Sometimes referred to as the Black Venus, she resides in Paris today. And she's just one of many magnetic images in a gorgeous, morally and spiritually vibrant show that is sure be one of the sleepers of the fall art season.
Why, with such attractions, is it a sleeper? Because exhibitions of African art almost always are. Even when museums give them the luxury treatment, as the Met does here, they remain on the fringes of our awareness, in a compartment labeled esoteric, as we make our beelines to Rembrandts and Rothkos. We are the sleepers, somnambulating past extraordinary things,
So, sleepers, awake. Change your habits, alter your route, see what you’re missing. This African show isn’t esoteric at all. Anyone familiar with Western religious art, particularly art before the modern era, will recognize its basic theme: life as a cosmic journey homeward, with parental spirits, embodied in materials and images, coddling, counseling and chiding us every step of the way.
Multimedia: Slide Show
The opening gallery is about connecting cross-cultural dots. First, and splendidly, we get Africa, in a sculptural group from Cameroon with two figures — the head of one explodes with feathers — perched atop a bark container that once held the skulls of generations of men from a single family.
Next is Europe, represented by a 13th-century silver bust designed to encase the cranium of a Roman Catholic saint. Then Asia, in a miniature version of an Indian Buddhist stupa mound that in its monumental form might have held the bones of Buddha himself. The lesson: When it comes to venerating the earthly traces of the honored dead, very different cultures share common ground.
Apparently not common enough, though, to let museum audiences easily embrace African art on its own terms. Western Modernism has seen to that. Through much of the 20th century, African art was valued primarily as source material for a European avant-garde. You know the story: Picasso sees an African mask — it doesn't matter which one — and, presto, there’s Cubism, an art that really counts.
Alisa LaGamma, the Met curator who organized "Eternal Ancestors," acknowledges the real investment that Modernism had in African culture. Several of the show’s most beautiful items have an early-20th-century art world pedigree. A spectacular Fang reliquary figure, combative and unflinching, once belonged to the painter André Derain. (The Met owns it now.) A jocund Kwele mask from Gabon was prized by the Dada poet Tristan Tzara.
But Ms. LaGamma also makes it clear that "Eternal Ancestors" is based on a non-Eurocentric, postmodern model. It is intended, as far as is ever possible in a Western museum, especially one as staid as the Met, to offer a view of traditional African art as it might have been seen through African eyes.
This approach is distilled in a small, enclosed space that is set apart for the display of three ancestral shrines and accompanied by wall labels of a kind seldom found in mainstream museums. It reads: "This room is devoted to a series of intact shrines. Upon entering, we request that you show respect for these devotional works."
Whatever devotion may mean to you, chances are that once you read those words, the atmosphere in the space will feel, however subtly, charged, the objects alive and purposeful, awake. So they would have been for the people who created and lived with them, and who valued them at least as much for what they concealed as for what they revealed.
All three shrines consist of alluring figures set atop, or emerging from, receptacles of some kind. Two of the figures are Fang in origin, similar in style to the Venus. The third, all face and spindly legs, was made by a Kota artist from thin strips of light-reflective copper laid over a forked wood frame.
What's hidden is the contents of the shrines' containers: bones, ashes, bits of cloth or earth. These materials are associated with people who died but are considered to be still present through their earthly remains in the lives of their descendants.
To the original owners of the shrine, its value lay in these relics, not in the replaceable sculptures that safeguarded them. To the late-19th-century European colonialists who first collected many of the works in this show, notable for its wealth of important international loans, the sculptures meant everything, the relics nothing. Usually they were just tossed away. The three intact shrines at the Met are rare survivals.
Yet sculpture is, of course, the visual substance of this show. And once Ms. LaGamma has suggested the life-and-death concepts that animate it, this is what we see: a symphonic sweep of reliquary forms and traditions from across Central Africa. From Cameroon comes a carving of a crotchety-looking, bent-kneed man with a cap — or is it coiffure? — balanced on his head like a meringue. This figure is a commemorative portrait of a Bangwa chief named Fosia, carved by the artist Ateu Atsa (around 1840-1910). Commissioned during the chief’s lifetime, it would have stood sentinel over his skull after death.
Full-length Fang figures, taut as clenched fists, are among Africa's most familiar sculptural types, although bust-length Fang heads, also meant to top reliquary containers, are no less gripping. One of the most famous, visiting from the Ethnographic Museum in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, is in the show. Its round, mirrored eyes give it a look of blank astonishment; the palm oil with which the wood was once saturated still oozes and drips from its surface like blood, or sweat, or tears.
Photo: Metroplitan Museum of Art
Then, a coup de théâtre: an ensemble of dozens of Kota reliquary figures, their shovel-shape faces made of gleaming copper and brass. Ganged together, side by side in rows of display cases, they are the visual equivalent of a brass choir at full volume, a Corelli fanfare. Yet each piece, whether as smooth as a leaf or dense with ornamentation, is unlike any other.
The show ends theatrically too, though whether with tragedy or comedy is hard to say. One of the final images is also one of the most startling: a reliquary figure from Congo. Standing six feet tall and made from layers and layers of cloth, including red European blankets, the figure is bulked up to resemble a giant female doll, all but nude, with brick-red skin and a smile of what looks like avid glee on her face.
Who is she? What is she? Several things. She is a portrait of someone who has died and also a receptacle for that person's mummified body. She is an image of a specific category of ancestor, one recently dead. But she will fully claim status only after she has been buried with the relic she holds.
There's a remarkable short 1926 film of such a burial playing in the gallery, and the mood of the occasion is hard to gauge. A titanic soft sculpture, like the one in the show, is being carried by a crowd out of the village. The procession stops beside a trench-size open grave. The villagers try to slide, then tip the figure into the ground, but it keeps bobbing back upright, like a Macy's Thanksgiving Day balloon that refuses to be held down. At this point, with the struggle still in progress, the film stops.
The point of such burials is symbolic: The dead enter the ancestral realm below the earth, from which they will return, transformed, to attend the living, who will themselves become ancestors. That, at least, is the idea, although as enacted here it has an antic, clownish air, more carnival than funeral. The lesson: In death, as in life, ambiguity rules. The second lesson: When treated like the living thing it is, art has a mind of its own.
Journalists say that Tommy Watson has been duped out of thousands of dollars on the sale of works such as Pitjantjatjara, 2005 - claims the Red Sand Art Gallery denies
via The Art Newspaper; additional links courtesy of RGL:
Aboriginal art dealers fight back
Red Sand Art Gallery sues journalists who accuse them of defrauding indigenous artists
James MacDonald | 9.10.07 | Issue 184
In mid July in the massive modernist Supreme Court in Darwin, a frail Aboriginal man with a shock of grizzled white hair and beard took the witness stand to give evidence in a case that goes to the heart of alleged "carpet-bagging"-dealers exploiting indigenous artists to make a profit-in the country's booming indigenous art trade.
Tommy Watson , who only began painting five years ago, is one of the new stars of the Aboriginal art world; his 2006 work Waltitjatta sold for A$240,000 ($197,160) at a sale in May held by Lawson Menzies auctioneers in Sydney-an auction that also saw the first Aboriginal painting break the A$1m ($840,000) price barrier, the late Emily Kame Kngwarreye's Earth's Creation.
Watson is also one of eight indigenous artists from Australia whose work is included in the Musée du Quai Branly, the new museum in Paris dedicated
to the arts and civilisations of Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas.
The case has been brought to the Northern Territory Supreme Court by Red Sand Art Gallery and its proprietors Peter and Nathan King, who are seeking damages for alleged defamation in two magazine articles.
According to their counsel, Paul Heyward-Smith QC, the articles invited readers to consider them as "carpet-baggers" exploiting Watson.
The defendants are Alison Harper, a former director of what was then Phillips Fine Art in Australia, who publishes the quarterly Australian Art Market Report, and journalist Jeremy Eccles, who wrote two articles in Harper's magazine in late 2005 and early 2006.
The defendants claim truth, fair comment and qualified privilege.
Tommy Watson was appearing as a witness for the defendants. Born around 1935 in the desert of central Australia, Watson cannot read or write, and speaks only a smattering of English.
He moves between Irrunytya, a small community of 150 people described as "one of the most impoverished places on earth" and the town of Alice Springs, a day's drive away.
Speaking through an interpreter in his native Pitjantjatjara language, Watson told the court of his dealings with the Red Sand Art Gallery in Alice Springs in 2005 when his paintings started attracting attention from collectors.
"I brought a lot of paintings in and I gave [them] to some mob and they didn't pay me," he said.
Watson supplied the gallery with 41 paintings over four months, but how much money changed hands and how it was distributed is still to be established.
Legal searches found that Watson's niece had received A$61,000 ($50,100) in cash and second-hand cars on his behalf, and the gallery later showed the court receipts showing that it had paid a further A$11,000 ($9,200) for used vehicles.
At the time his paintings were selling for over A$30,000 ($24,650) each.
The gallery began placing the works with auction houses in Sydney and Melbourne; to date they have realised A$347,300 ($285,300) for 20 works sold so far and are likely to make around A$844,700 ($693,920) when all are auctioned, according to Adrian Newstead, head of indigenous art at Lawson Menzies. [read on...]
Concern … Harriet Fesq, co-ordinator of the Durrmu Arts centre, with some of the art at the Chalkhorse Gallery in Surry Hills.
Photo: Adam Mclean
from The Sydney Morning Herald, via Harvard Law School Art Law resources [links courtesy of RGL]:
Aboriginal art under threat
Stephanie Peatling and Joel Gibson
September 17, 2007
THE [Australian] Federal Government's intervention in remote indigenous communities in the Northern Territory could devastate a lucrative industry and leave artists open to exploitation by carpet-baggers, leading indigenous art academics and artists' representatives say.
They want to keep the Community Development Employment Project, which is being scrapped as part of the intervention, because the industry depends on it to support art centres and workers who do not earn enough to live on from inconsistent art sales.
Jon Altman, the director of the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research at the Australian National University, said ending the program was likely to "jeopardise" the most successful indigenous industry.
"Why would you undermine the most robust sector? [Art] is a huge drawcard for international tourists and has enormous spin-off benefits for the nation," Professor Altman said.
As part of the intervention into Northern Territory remote communities, indigenous people will have up to half of their welfare payments quarantined by the Federal Government.
But employment project payments cannot be quarantined because they are technically income. People receiving these payments will be moved to the lower unemployment payments, which are subject to quarantining, and receive top-ups to cover the difference.
The Minister for Workforce Participation, Sharman Stone, told the Herald all art centres in the Northern Territory would be visited by departmental staff to see if some of their staff could be employed by the public service.
"If there are artists who are able to sell their work and they are doing well they should be self-sufficient and they should be assisted to manage their income," Dr Stone said.
Richard Birrinbirrin, a Ramingining artist and one of the producers of the AFI-award-winning film Ten Canoes, said: "Nearly all of our art centre workers and artists rely on CDEP payments, which have supported jobs in art centres for the past 20 years. Due to years of under-funding of indigenous education, many of our people are not job-ready and some never will be. They do have meaningful work, though: their job is the expression and teaching of our culture. They are artists."
Alan Murn, the manager of Julalikari Arts, said that moving artists to the work-for-the-dole scheme would require them to perform menial jobs such as cleaning communities instead of painting, and would reduce their base pay rate, making them more vulnerable to carpet-baggers.
Professor Altman agreed, saying that if artists were working in other areas as part of the work-for-the-dole scheme they would be susceptible to carpet-baggers coming into communities and offering cash for artworks.
A recent Senate report on the indigenous art industry warned about carpet-baggers, finding it was common practice for Aboriginal artists to be offered small amounts of instant cash for their paintings, much less than they would receive if the paintings were sold through an art centre or gallery.
Harriet Fesq, co-ordinator of the Durrmu Arts centre in Peppimenarti, said that community was protected from carpet-baggers by its remoteness but the end of employment project payments would affect the industry across the Territory.
"It's a fragile thing, having an art program and ensuring the artists are happy and comfortable so they can produce good work."
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons (Attribution: 3.0) License (US), though the work this blog incorporates may be separately licensed.
Robert L. Welsch, Virginia-Lee Webb, Sebastian Haraha: Coaxing the Spirits to Dance:
Art And Society in the Papuan Gulf of New Guinea _________________________
John Friede: New Guinea Art:
Masterpieces of the Jolika Collection from Marcia And John Friede _________________________