UVA Arts, University of Virginia

Vol 09 Winter 18 Library
Regina Pilawuk Wilson carrying a dillybag she wove from pandanus palm. (Credit: Cassie de Colling)
Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection

A Partnership with The Phillips Collection & Second Street Gallery

During the summer of 2018, Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection partnered with The Phillips Collection in Washington DC and Second Street Gallery in Charlottesville to bring the internationally acclaimed artist Regina Pilawuk Wilson to Charlottesville. Regina and her son, Henry Wilson, curated the exhibition Ngunguni: Old Techniques Remain Strong, which was shown May 24 - September 9 at Kluge-Ruhe. The exhibition arose from a request from the Peppimenarti community, where Regina and Henry live, for images and information about their cultural materials in the Kluge-Ruhe Collection. The process of curating the exhibition inspired the community to revive the practice of painting on eucalyptus bark. Alongside masterworks on bark from the 1950s and 60s, Ngunguni contained the first two bark paintings produced in the region in over 25 years, which were subsequently acquired for the Kluge-Ruhe collection. While in Charlottesville, Regina and Henry Wilson engaged with the local community through a curatorial roundtable and a public program in which they discussed the vital role of Indigenous curating and consultation, while reflecting on the important work being done at Kluge-Ruhe to reconnect with Indigenous Australian communities. Second Street Gallery, one of the oldest non-profit art galleries in the United States, showed a selection of contemporary works in different media by Regina Wilson in an exhibition titled Ngerringkrrety: One Voice, Many Stories. Wilson’s work was also featured in the major exhibition Marking the Infinite: Contemporary Women Artists from Aboriginal Australia on display at The Phillips Collection from June 2 to September 9, 2018, curated by Henry Skerritt from Kluge-Ruhe. The Wilson family’s visit to the USA brought significant national and international attention, including a major article in the national newspaper The Australian, highlighting the innovative nature of Kluge-Ruhe’s collaborations with Indigenous artists and communities. Partnerships like those with The Phillips Collection and Second Street Gallery not only show Kluge-Ruhe’s esteemed position in the Charlottesville community, but also its position as a national center for the study and presentation of Indigenous Australian art. 

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