Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA)
26 July to 28 October 1994
Ian Abdulla, Gordon Bennett, Destiny Deacon, Kevin Gilbert, Tommy McRae (Yackaduna), Marrnyula Munungurr, Ginger Riley Munduwalawala, Paddy Fordham Wainburranga, Jimmy Wululu, Utopia Artists: Audrey Kngwarreye, Lilly Kngwarreye, Lucky Kngwarreye, Hazel Kngwarreye, Katie Kngwarreye, Michelle Kngwarreye
Fiona Foley & Djon Mundine
The title of this exhibition – a statement attributed to Pemulwuy, the Aboriginal resistance fighter from what is now the area called Sydney – was chosen to signify the act of resistance by contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists in continuing their artistic expression in the face of a history of ignorance and suppression of these traditions by white invaders.
Pemulwuy’s words were chosen for the title of this show and for the first exhibition of Aboriginal art at the MCA in 1992. His words signified an act of resistance by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, as manifested in the continuing vitality of Aboriginal cultures, now widely acknowledged in Australia.
Tyerabarrbowaryaou II was curated by Fiona Foley and Djon Mundine for the 5th Havana Biennial in Cuba, where it was presented from 7 May to 30 June 1992 as the Australian contribution to the exhibition. The Havana Biennial, also known as the Third World Biennial, was an important forum for the art of nations marginalised by the West.
The works in this exhibition were selected for the direct truths they conveyed. The social context of their making was of utmost importance, much more than the formally attractive qualities they possessed. The personal histories and experiences of the artists, and their deep involvement in the traditions and customs of their communities, linked these artists, drawn from many different parts of the country. Nearly all the artists in Tyerabarrbowaryaou II worked in both autobiographical and historical modes, using their own lives as subject matter and the histories unrecorded or ignored by White Australia, and conveying their stories in a wide variety of materials and styles.