To celebrate and honour NAIDOC Week, the National Gallery of Victoria has produced a vibrant and diverse week-long festival to commemorate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Andrew Clark, Deputy Director, NGV said: “This is the most extensive NAIDOC Week ever programmed by the NGV and the Gallery is proud to celebrate the talents of local and interstate Indigenous artists, performers, actors and directors.
Together with many special guests from the Indigenous community, we will present a range of programs from drop-by-drawing classes, artist demonstrations and floor talks, to film screenings and guided tours for kids and families”, Mr Clark said.
Guests include internationally renowned artist Treahna Hamm and contemporary artists Yhonnie Scarce, Brian Martin, Julie Gough and Clinton Nain.
The theme for this year’s NAIDOC Week celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of the Yirrkala bark petitions to Federal Parliament.
The 1963 petitions were instrumental in advancing Aboriginal claims for native title and in the evolution of contemporary forms of Aboriginal art.
This groundbreaking historical event is also acknowledged in a current exhibition in the Qantas Airways Indigenous Galleries which demonstrates the physical, spiritual and ecological importance of the four elements of nature to Indigenous people.
The first gallery space in the exhibition is dedicated to paintings and hollow logs made by Yolngu artists of Buku Larrnggay Mulka, the art center established at the former mission Yirrkala where the bark petitions were organised.
The artwork pictured by Gumatj leader Munggurrawuy Yunupingu was painted fifty years ago at the time of the Bark Petition. The diamonds are sacred clan designs that encode the Fire Dreaming at a special place in the artist’s clan estate.
Various individual clan designs such as these were used in the bark petition to signify the ancestrally sanctioned rights to land of all the Yolngu clans and to protest against the desecration by mining of their sacred sites on the Gove peninsula.
The Qantas Airways Indigenous Galleries is located on the Ground Level of The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, and will be the location for many of the NAIDOC Week Celebrations.
NAIDOC Week Celebrations at the NGV will run from Sunday 7 to Saturday 13 July at the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Federation Square. Open Tuesday to Sunday, 10am-5pm, entry is free. For a full list of NAIDOC Week Celebrations see ngv.vic.gov.au.
NAIDOC Week runs from 7–14 July.