UNTOLD x Painting on Country


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Image: Burning Country; Sidney Moody, Vincent Nanala, Joseph Yukenbarri.Courtesy: Warlayirti Artists and Lucinda White. Image taken on a NGURRA KUTJUWARRA (Together on Country) trip supported by Agency Projects

Painting Country is about more than words can convey. It is at the heart of some of Australia’s most vital creative, cultural and political movements. To paint Country is to make visible a world of meaning and values that are otherwise often lost in translation.

Aboriginal artists, diplomats and intellectuals have continually sought to cross the divide of cross-cultural ignorance and misunderstanding though the sharing of their Country. From the Yirrkala Bark Petitions, the Barunga Statement, the evolution of the Western Desert painting movement and contemporary Art Centres, to the presentation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, painted Country is how Australian have been asked to listen, and learn.  Yet the importance of Country, and the complexity of painting it, is often reduced to the simplistic, landscape-driven language. Worse yet, it is often lost in the language of ‘art’.

So what is Country, why does it matter, and why do so many of the most important documents in Australian History draw upon its authority?

To explore the creative and political importance of painting Country today will be an esteemed panel including Claire G. Coleman, Noongar woman and acclaimed writer, Sally Scales, Pitjantjatjara woman, artist and advocate, Professor Clare Wright OAM, historian, author and broadcaster, and Professor John Carty, scholar and Head of Humanities at the South Australia Museum and author of the acclaimed book BALGO: Creating Country

This talk is being presented as part of the program for UNTOLD: Marking Life, Indigenous reflections on continuing/maintaining/living rituals presented by Agency Projects. 

Wominjeka (Welcome). We acknowledge the people of the Eastern Kulin Nations as the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet. We pay our respects to the land, their ancestors and their elders—past, present and to the future.