Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA)
11 May to 01 October 2006
Ian Abdulla, Brook Andrew, Gordon Bennett, John Bulunbulun, Tony Dhanyala, David Malangi Daymirringu, Destiny Deacon, Lena Djamarrayku, Tony Djikululu, Fiona Foley, Mary Gubriawuy, Melba Gunjarrwanga, Wally Lipuwanga, Tracey Moffatt, Jack Nawilil, Johnny Ngarrarran, Dennis Nona, Brian Nyinawanga, Elizabeth Nyumi, Eddie Puruntatameri, Redback Graphix – We have survived portfolio: Karen Casey, Alice Hinton, Merrille Lands, Fernanda Martins, Marie McMahon, Arone Raymond Meeks, Sally Morgan, Lin Onus, Trevor Nickolls, Jeffrey Samuels, Bede Tungutalum, Paddy Fordham Wainburranga, Giovanni Tipungwuti, Joseph Warlapinni, Micky Wungulba, Dick Yambal, Lena Yarinkura
This exhibition of works from the MCA Collection reflected the variety of directions contemporary artistic practice by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists has taken over the last two and a half decades. bangu yilbara included new and recent acquisitions together with earlier work that had rarely been exhibited. Artists worked in a variety of media from natural pigment on bark and sculptural forms, to off-set printing, photography and video.
bangu yilbara is derived from the language of the Gadigal people, the traditional owners of the land where the MCA is located. Bangu means “to make” or “to do” and yilbara means “now” which reflects the focus of this exhibition; on the work itself.
Storytelling was a strong component of this exhibition. The paintings of the late Ian W. Abdulla, who lived and worked in the Riverland country of South Australia, described everyday life stories and personal experiences, scenes of work, play and country-life. Tracey Moffatt’s Adventure Series were inspired by the popular narratives and comic strips she read during her youth. Fiona Foley explored history, sexuality, beauty and cultural memory – or rather, forgetting and loss – from the perspective of a Badtjala woman of Thoorgine (Fraser Island).
This exhibition also presented bark paintings, sculptures painted with ochre and new work by artists from Ramingining and Maningrida, two core groups of the MCA’s Collection. A group of prints from Redback Graphix from 1988 provided an overview of work in this period by a number of artists including some of the key founding members of the Boomalli co-operative.
The aim of bangu yilbara was to enable local Aboriginal communities to actively engage in the MCA’s exhibition program. This project was an important opportunity to continue to develop links with local Aboriginal communities and to build and foster community involvement with the MCA and its programs.