I nearly walked straight through this elegant room (first stop after the cloakroom) on my way to find this yer’s Tarnanthi exhibitions, thinking it was part of the AGSA’s permanent colonial art display! How annoyed I would have been if I hadn’t paused to read a label. This was SO much more than a display of colonial paintings and aboriginal tools and artefacts of the time. Curator Jonathan Jones has in fact put together one of the most informative and moving displays I have seen in years. Having just read Bruce Pascoe’s “Dark Emu”, I was definitely primed to be re-educated about centuries-old cultivation and hunting practices by Australia’s First Peoples, and this clever collection of early watercolours from a variety of sources, together with the most beautifully made shovels and digging sticks and coolamons filled with bronze castings of myrnong, (the yams aboriginal people tended for and ate for thousands of years before sheep, cattle, European crops..the whole catastrophe…ruined the balance) was a refreshing history lesson.
Tarnanthi 2019….what a show!
October 21, 2019 Basil Hall