Among a cornucopia of events, books and concepts flying through the Indigenous world this time of year, surely the most notable is the start of First Nations NFTs – the hottest things of 2021. .
NFTs (non-fungible tokens) have been dubbed the Word of the Year by the Collins Dictionary, with its practice increasing 1,100% in one year as impressive auction records – would you believe $ 69 million – and Legal actions have come to the same extent.
Not so hot in Oz, maybe, but the action almost inevitably came from this most dynamic operation, Buku Larrnggay’s Mulka Center in Yirrkala, in eastern Arnhemland. Why bother, you might ask, when the Center is already making award-winning films that expand and educate about the depths of the Yolngu culture on the bark and larrakitj so dear to the Elders. The official response is that NFTs provide “a way for Yolŋu artists to mint and authenticate their digital work.”
As you might expect, one of the pioneers is the inventive Ishmael Marika; the other is Wukun Wanambi whose digital manipulation of fish that are such a familiar part of his painting has already spread upstairs and swam through onlookers. Both received the MH Carnegie Fine Art NFT Fellowship Award and are both members of MintNFT, Australia’s premier NFT fine art collective.
While Wanambi’s work is based on a highly detailed photogrammetric scan of one of her bark paintings, Marika’s NFTs are only generated from her hand drawings and are one-off editions within a collection. As Joseph Brady of the Mulka Project explained to me, “The main difference between Ishmael’s films and his NFTs is the deployment.”
“Once a traditional digital work is in the secondary or third-party market, its provenance becomes more difficult to authenticate. The NFTs have decentralized this process. You can still copy, steal, or capture them, but their ownership is permanently and publicly available on the blockchain. If the artwork changes hands 100 times, you can instantly trace its origins back to the artist through all the owners it has ever had ”.
Decentralizing the authentication process to a publicly accessible ledger means that people can buy and sell art with completely anonymous strangers with confidence; don’t trust the individual sale, but the work of art itself ”.
Unfortunately the only way for this to work is to buy an NFT Marika or Wunambi with cryptocurrency!
Meanwhile, if your stockings could be recharged in the Victoria area, the Shepparton Art Museum has opened in a building that is itself a work of art. Inside, one of the largest collections of Indigenous art, mostly donated by the Gantner family, is on display. Fittingly, they opened with an exhibition of the work of man Yorta Yorta Lin Onus. Immediately thereafter, the director who had established the museum, Rebecca Coates, resigned.
Elsewhere in the Victoria area, Adam Knight, who already sells Aboriginal art at Mitchelton Winery’s sprawling gallery, has announced plans to set up another in the Yarra Valley – at St Huberts Winery, which will open its doors in February. Gabriella Possum’s art has also found its way into the wine bottles themselves.
And in rural SA, the Umoona Women Painters, who are part of Cooper Pedy, were discovered and promoted by the APY Art Center collective in Adelaide, allowing them to sell art outside of town. for the first time and imagine their own art center. .
In cities, the main exhibition is surely ‘Bark Ladies‘to CNG. Eleven of the best Yolngu contributed their work on bark and larrikitj, but they also added vocals on film. So even if you are not in Melbourne, you can catch up now with artists Naminapu Maymuru-White and Dhambit Munuŋgurr talking about learning to paint thanks to their family members and their passion to continue painting today. The episode also features 2019 Australian Rapper, Dancer and Young Person of the Year Baker Boy Yolŋu. There is a new episode with different artists every month. Episode 4 in March, for example, features young Siena Mayutu Wurmarri Stubbs speaking about her late grandmother, Ms. N Yunupingu.
In the west, the WA Art Gallery has just reopened with a ton of native WA works on display, but they’ve also attracted ‘Always present’, a large traveling exhibition of First Nations art from the National Gallery. Even better is yet to come. In March, ‘Trails we share: Contemporary art from Pilbara‘will be a historical exhibition of Aboriginal art from the Pilbara region. Showcasing more than 200 works by over 70 artists, the exhibition will highlight and celebrate the diverse art of Pilbara as a result of the multi-year project that first mapped the Pilbara Aboriginal art movement.
The exhibit is a collaboration between the non-profit arts and culture organization WA FORM, AGWA and the Aboriginal Art Centers; Cheeditha Art Group, Juluwarlu Art Group, Martumil Artists, Spinifex Hill Studio and Yinjaa-Barni Art.
We might even be able to visit WA in March!
Finally books for your stockings that do not require a visa to buy! It is often said that governments succeed in denying sympathy to imprisoned refugees by simply keeping them out of sight. Giving a personality and a profile to the historic Aborigines can thus be considered as part of the process of reconciliation with our First Nations. So two books on warrior heroes – a class so often denied when people compare Maori warriors – are a good place to start. Neither can be called a household name – Tongerlongeter and Windradyne. The first – a Vandermonian hero from a place he called lutruwita – is presented by Henry Reynolds and Nicholas Clement for New South Books.
“Gudyarra” is the Wiradjuri word for the war that took place in the 1820s when the colonialists finally crossed the Blue Mountains and expected to find great pastures and pleading natives. Windradyne – or Saturday – and his warriors weren’t predicted by pastors. So they called the troops. The little-known Bathurst War that followed appears to have involved 10 local massacres, as attested by historian Stephen Gapps, who has some credit in this area for pioneering his “Sydney Wars” a few years ago. years. It is also published by New South Books.
Mind you, the book I can’t wait to read at Christmas is The Mighty ‘Balgo: Country of Creator ‘ on the history of artistic creation in this community of the Tanami desert by the diligent researcher, John Carty. UWA editions.
Artist: Ishmael Marika, Wukun Wanambi, Lin Onus, Gabriella Possum, Naminapu Maymuru-White, Dhambit Munuŋgurr, Mme N Yunupingu,
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