UVA Arts, University of Virginia

Vol 07 Winter 17 Library
Coe Sweet

Kluge-Ruhe Madayin

Yinimala Gumana and Wukun Wanambi performing traditional Yolngu songs at a reception for UVA Arts Council at the Kluge-Ruhe Collection
(Photo: Coe Sweet)

Learn more about the Collection

The Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection is making history with a large-scale exhibition titled Madayin: Seven Decades of Bark Painting from Yirrkala, Australia. Currently in development, the exhibition will tour major metropolitan centers across the US between 2020-22. It will be the first major survey of Aboriginal bark paintings ever staged outside of Australia, covering more than 70 years of painting by Yolngu artists who use ochres on eucalyptus bark to represent the beauty and power of their culture. This art form enjoyed a renaissance as artists sought out new and innovative ways to make compelling contemporary statements using ancient clan designs. The project was officially launched in May by former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and visiting curators Wukun Wanambi and Yinimala Gumana. Madayin is being developed in collaboration with Yolngu people from northeast Arnhem Land, Australia and is the first time that an Aboriginal community has been so actively involved in the curation of a major US touring exhibition. While in the US, Wanambi and Gumana also taught classes at UVA and visited important collections of their work in Washington DC and New York. In September, Yolngu community leaders Djambawa Marawili AM and Waka Mununggurr visited UVA to continue working on the exhibition with Henry Skerritt, curator of the Indigenous Arts of Australia at Kluge-Ruhe. They gave a public presentation on the project at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC with Kluge-Ruhe director Margo Smith AM

Wukun Wanambi and Yinimala Gumana performing a traditional Yolngu song at a reception to celebrate the launch of Madayin at the Yale Club of NYC in May 2017. 
(Photo: Tom Cogill)
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