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Presence: a dialogue in country


Country in Central Australia is omnipresent; it is always in your sightline and you can’t help but engage with it at some level. It surrounds you, holds you, challenges you and captivates you in ways different from other places. The country nourishes and sustains many of us who live here or are from this country; for others it confronts and repels. For artists it is an endless source of inspiration, reflection and subject, as they set out to capture and convey its qualities, scale, nuance, stories and meanings. These artists continue a long tradition of landscape painting in this country; a dialogue that has endured across centuries and artistic movements.

Presence: a dialogue in country presents a rich and diverse look at country through selected works from the Araluen Art Collection. The Collection includes over 1100 works and aspires to represents artistic development and practice from this region. It has a focus on Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal artists from the region and those artists from further afield who travel to Central Australia to create works in response to this place. The works in this exhibition, which reflect the Collection’s focus, speak of country and provide unique interpretations, statements, observations or knowledge of country. From their individual perspectives, artists explore their understandings of this country; their connections to it or relationships with it, and challenge us with their personal and political responses.

For Aboriginal artists painting country is a life affirming practice that conveys their deep cultural knowledge of their country and their unbroken relationship with country despite colonisation. Aboriginal artists’ works reveal aspects of country that aren’t visible to the non-Aboriginal viewer and provide insights into the importance of country for Aboriginal people and its layers of meaning. This exhibition provides the viewer with the opportunity to reflect on the different ways artists from diverse backgrounds not only see country but to reflect on how these artists dialogue with it in their practice. Country is an infinite source of inspiration, intrigue and challenge. Presence: a dialogue in country provides wonderful insights into artists’ diverse responses to and relationships with country. 


Witjiti George, Piltati: Wanampi Tjukurpa, 2017, acrylic on linen, 197 x 197 cm

Witjiti George, Piltati: Wanampi Tjukurpa, 2017, acrylic on linen, 197 x 197 cm


01 November 2017 - 11 April 2018


Open daily from 10am-4pm




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