The exhibition Ever Present: First Peoples Art of Australia features 150 works by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and is now on at National Gallery Singapore till 25 September 2022.
Spread over three galleries, Ever Present is the largest exhibition of its kind to travel out of Australia to Asia. It provides a narrative of the First Peoples of Australia’s roots, culture, complex history and struggle.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art & Culture
The first section of the exhibition is based on the theme Ancestors + Creators. It explores the complex belief system known as the Dreaming. It describes how culture, kinship and the Country was created by the Ancestors. Dreaming stories are perceived as “ever present” rather than events of the past.
Other themes in this first gallery include Country + Constellations and Community + Family.
Culture + Ceremony and Trade + Influence are explored through the artworks in the second gallery.
One of the most striking exhibits is a Crocodile Shark mask by Alick Tipoti which represents ceremonial totems.
A special commission is Untitled (walam-wunga.galang) by Jonathan Jones. It is made up of scaled-up grinding and millstones, a reference the early harvesting of plant species by Aboriginal people.
The last section of Ever Present at National Gallery Singapore, Resistance + Colonisation, explores the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples struggle against European colonisers and social and political injustices. The artworks also reflect the pride, resilience and courage of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
For kids, there are some artworks which have been marked out with special GalleryKids panels. These provide questions which engage kids and guides them to ask questions to consider the different artworks.
At the City Hall Chamber also has Embassy by Richard Bell, an installation based on the Aboriginal rights movement. Take note that this installation features strong language.
Ever Present: First Peoples Art of Australia at National Gallery Singapore
Ever Present: First Peoples Art of Australia is on till 25 September 2022 at the SingTel Special Exhibition Gallery. A General Admission ticket is required (free for Singaporeans and Permanent Residents).