Margaret Preston (1875-1963) returned to Australia from Europe in 1919 determined to develop a modern and distinctly national art. Indigenous art was integral to her campaign and, after 1932, when she moved to Berowra in the Hawkesbury Basin near Sydney and encountered local rock art, she embraced its restricted palette and geometric forms.
Her appreciation of Indigenous art was sincere and enlightened for her time; however, the forms and motifs that inform the modernist style of this painting are displaced from their original cultural and spiritual contexts.
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Feature image detail: Margaret Preston Aboriginal still life 1940