Posts tagged Major Sumner
Our Mob is a state-wide celebration of regional and remote South Australian artists. This is its fifth year and derives from a desire to develop a sustainable and dynamic indigenous arts industry, now enshrined in the Statewide Indigenous Community Artists Development (SICAD) program. This year’s exhibition features Ngarrindjeri artists from the Riverland and Coorong.
There are perhaps two stand-out feature works that certainly warrant the time to visit. Major Sumner’s Tree Canoe sits in the midst of the works resting on sand on the floor. A Ngarrindjeri elder, Sumner describes his canoe as a homage to the tree from which it is cut, being more than 100 years old, and to children as an example of both technique and culture. It is certainly impressive and as clear as anything could be of the close inter-relationship between the land and its uses by indigenous communities for thousands of years.
Beaver Lennon’s Break of Dawn (attached above) is notable for two reasons. First, it is one of the few works on display clearly borne of white man styles and techniques, Jack Absalom would be proud of the gums and the spinafex. The heavy, dewy atmospherics of the work with the dark under sides of the clouds, tinged with the dawn’s crimsons, pose the question of whether this is about the on-coming of a cultural storm or the dawn of new, brighter day. The second notable feature is that this work won the inaugural SA Indigenous Acquisitive Art Award of $5000 (thanks to an anonymous donor) that sees the work go into the Adelaide Festival Centre’s Indigenous Art Collection.
Also of note is the exquisite brush work of Roger (Bushfire) Saunders in his Spirits of Change and the raw talent of 9 year old, Ella Ackland’s Snake Protector, an acrylic on bark work of a snake slithering for safety.
Finally, of considerable interest is Narelle Unmeopa’s Emu Egg. Her daughter’s Emu egg is also there, a brightly coloured collectible, but Narelle’s exhibits extraordinary craftsmanship being symbols left as shell after all else has been scraped and sanded away down to the finest skin or membrane before reaching the egg’s yoke – no paint applied.
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Image: Beaver Lennon, The Break of Dawn, acrylic on canvas, 2010