The exhibition ‘North by North-West’ at the Queensland Art Gallery presents recent acquisitions and old favourites from the Gallery’s Indigenous Australian art collection, highlighting unique visual threads and continuities that traverse the top half of the continent. Over our blog series we will delve into the exhibition themes: ‘Journey across the Northern Territory’; ‘Seven Sisters’; ‘Geometries’; and ‘The North-West’.
From the Tiwi in the north to the Pitjantjatjara people of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in the south, and across to the Gija and Bardi peoples from Warmun and Broome in the Kimberley region, ‘North by North-West’ celebrates the regionally specific styles of each Country. These characteristics have often stemmed from traditional body designs and cultural objects, which were shared or traded across borders. In this display, historic artworks are contextualised by contemporary reworkings of these traditional practices.
Particular attention is paid to the trade in artistic traditions and stories through songlines. Common motifs and ancestral stories are transformed across mediums through innovative explorations of form, symbol and texture. Works range from representations of the Seven Sisters constellation to the politically engaged watercolours created by contemporary Hermannsburg School artists.
Nora Wompi ‘Kunawarritji’
D Harding ‘What is theirs is ours now (I do not claim to own)’
Timo Hogan ‘Lake Baker’
Katina Davidson is Curator, Indigenous Australian Art, QAGOMA
‘North by North-West’ / Queensland Art Gallery / 11 February 2023 – 2 March 2025
Acknowledgment of Country The Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land upon which the Gallery stands in Brisbane. We pay respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elders past and present and, in the spirit of reconciliation, acknowledge the immense creative contribution Indigenous people make to the art and culture of this country. It is customary in many Indigenous communities not to mention the name of the deceased. All such mentions and photographs on the QAGOMA Blog are with permission, however, care and discretion should be exercised.
We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art stands and recognise the creative contribution First Australians make to the art and culture of this country.