Ramingining: arte aborigen australiano de la tierra de Arnhem

31 january, 2002 - 31 march, 2002 /
Palacio de Velázquez, Parque del Retiro, Madrid
Exhibition view. Ramingining: arte aborigen australiano de la tierra de Arnhem, 2002
Exhibition view. Ramingining: arte aborigen australiano de la tierra de Arnhem, 2002

Museums have often mixed Aboriginal art works with disparate objects in their collections, producing taxonomies that are not very faithful to the reality of those people. It is also frequent that these museums’ scientific focus treats objects produced by non-Western peoples as part of the history of nature rather than of their culture.

Coinciding with the choice of Australia as guest country to the ARCO 2002 fair, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, in collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, will exhibit at the Palacio de Velázquez del Parque del Retiro a selection of one hundred and seventy works from the Ramingining Collection, dedicated to Aboriginal art from the Land of Arnhem, a region in the north of Australia.

This collection is by artists living in the north-central part of Arnhem. There we find two important centres of artistic activity: the town of Ramingining and the island settlement of Milingimbi; established in the Twenties as a place for missions on Crocodile Islands and which have been a source for the distribution of artworks during most of the twentieth century.

In 1984 the Power Gallery of Contemporary Art at the University of Sydney commissioned Djon Mundine, curator of this exhibition and artistic adviser for the Ramingining community, to organise an exhibition that would reflect the various representations created by the artists from Arnhem. Mundine organised the exhibition as a visual record of social and intellectual patterns in this society through their designs and symbolic representations. Following the success of the exhibition the Power Gallery decided to purchase and integrate the entire collection. Turning its artistic line completely around, it would later become the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. The Ramingining Collection expands in 1991 with the acquisition of the Maningrida Collection adding pieces from the homonymous region and in 1993 with the Artnott's Collection which includes, among others, forty pieces by the artist Yirawala.

This exhibition is divided into six sections related to six geographic areas: Gulunbuy (freshwater swamps), Larrtha'puy (mangroves), Rangipuy (oceans and beaches) Diltjipuy (forest), Retjapuy (jungles) and Ninydjiya (plains). Mundine’s thorough knowledge of Aboriginal art is essential to structure the exhibition and to facilitate the visitor’s understanding of what the pieces allude to and what their intrinsic meaning is. The division is due to the different themes that appear in each of them. The artists from Arnhem Land are inspired by nature in their development of political, social and religious themes, so often the animals depicted in their works function as metaphors.

The artists represented in the collection use tree bark with the same frequency with which Western painters turn to canvas. Highlights include the work of artists David Daymirringu, Paddy Dhathangu, Mick Daypurryum, Alec Djirrigulu and Tom Djumburpur who have been followed by a new generation of artists born in the Fifties such as Djardi Ashley, Charlie Djurritjini, Daisy Mithilguwuy, Richard Birrinbirrin, James Memawuy, Jimmy Banabul, Dhapalany Dhalatjngu and Johnny Buniyira.

Simultaneous to this exhibition is the projection of Screen Life, a virtual representation of videos on Australian and Asian artists projected on the giant screen installed onto the Sabatini building's main facade.

Exhibition´s details

Organized by: 
Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney in collaboration with the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
Djon Mundine
Exhibition Tour: 

Sprengel Museum Hannover (July 8 – September 9, 2001); Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo (June 29 – August 11, 2002); Asia Society, New York (September 19, 2002 – January 5, 2003)

Djardi Ashley, Ada Balayarra, Jimmy Banabul, Clancy Bandamarra, Judy Baypungala, Robert Berangu, Richard Birrinbirrin, Katy Bopari, Johnny Buniyira, Bobby Bununggurr, Tony Danyala, David Daymirringu, Mick Daypurryun, Peter Dhakwarr, Dhapalany Dhalatjngu, Paddy Dhathangu, John Dhurrikayu, Johnny Djatjamarralil, Julie Djelirr, Joe Djembungu, Tony Djikululu, Alec Djirrigulu, Dorothy Djukulul, Tom Djumburpur, Robyn Djunginy, Charlie Djurritjini, Micky Dorrng, Elizabeth Gamalangga, Elsie Ganbada, Margaret Gindjimirri, Peter Grirrkrirr, Mary Gubriawuy, Philip Gudthaykudthay, Phillip Gudthaykudthay, Bridget Gudupudu, Rita Gukulurruwuy, Don Gundinga, Letngawuy, Paddy Lipuwanga, Wally Lipuwanga, Tom Liyadarri, George Malibirr, Jimmy Mamalanhawuy, Jacky Manbarrarra, Norman Mangawila, George Marnguwuy, Johnny Mayarra, Durrurrnga Maylingbuy, James Memawuy, Peter Milaynga, Timothy Milingimbilil, Daisy Mithilguwuy, Jimmy Moduk, Peter Mondjingu, Charlie Mulgurrumlil, Michael Mundiny, Ray Munyal, Neville Nanytjawuy, Fred Nganganharralil, Johnny Ngarrarran, Brian Nyinawanga, Rosie Rodgi, Rosie Rodji, Jimmy Wululu, Leslie Wulurrk, Micky Wungulba, Kallie Yalkarriwuy, Peter Yalukama, Dick Yambal, Tom Yätjang, Tony Yuwati View more