THE National Gallery of Australia was the setting today for a gala launch of an important three-part TV series on ABC1 starting in July.
Curator/presenter Hetti Perkins, the daughter of leading activist Charles Perkins, shares her knowledge of and passion for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, providing an insider’s perspective on the work of Australia’s leading Indigenous contemporary artists.
Here’s where the NGA comes in – “art+soul 2” uses as its springboard the country’s premier Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art collection in the National Gallery.
Structured around three themes – “Pride and Prejudice”, “Beauty and Cruelty” and “Love and Longing”, this second series of “art+soul” explores how artists make sense of their history and considers how art is both political and a source of healing. For many artists, acknowledging the difficult stories that stem from colonisation, lies at the heart of their life and work with the purposes of setting the record straight and stating the relationship between the maintenance of tradition and innovation.
Through this, Perkins also weaves her personal, family story.In the program, viewers will meet some of Australia’s leading contemporary artists, including Daniel Boyd, Julie Gough, Lola Greeno, Wanyubi Marika, Vernon Ah Kee, Christian Thompson, Brian Robinson, Jonathan Jones and Warwick Thornton.
“Through the imagination of our artists, a better future can be imagined for the whole country,” Perkins comments.
The program’s director Steven McGregor describes the series as “an invitation to explore works by leading Indigenous artists as they share their personal stories through their work, revealing their passion, their politics and their identity, and providing an insight into what lies at the very heart of their artistic practice and their community.”
ABC TV Head of Arts, Katrina Sedgwick: ‘The ABC is delighted to be screening this stunning second series of ART & SOUL with Hetti Perkins. This series celebrates the extraordinary diversity, depth and power of the art work by some of the leading contemporary Indigenous artists from right across this country.’
In Episode one: “Pride and Prejudice,” Daniel Boyd paints Captain Cook as pirate, not an explorer, Yolngu leader Wanyubi Marika’s art proudly tells ancient stories of law and land. The past is embedded in the light installations of Jonathan Jones and Esme Timbery adapts the shell work traditions started by her great grandmother, demonstrating cultural resilience and innovation.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
‘art + soul 2’ premieres on the ABC on Tuesday July 8, 8.30pm, as part of NAIDOC Week. Subsequent episodes screen Tuesday, July 15 and Tuesday, July 22.