U.Va. Art Museum Exhibits Aboriginal Art

November 01, 2006

Nov. 1, 2006 -- “New Dreams for Old: Australian Aboriginal Art from the Kluge-Ruhe Collection” opens at the University of Virginia Art Museum on Saturday, Nov. 4 and runs through Dec. 21. The exhibition, curated by Margo Smith, director of the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection, explores the Aboriginal tradition of “Dreaming” and its cultural significance, both historically and today.

 “Dreaming” is an integral characteristic of Australian Aboriginal history and culture, which pervades the Aboriginal people’s unique associations with the features of their landscape, ancestral beings and species of living animals and plants. Together these relationships make up a body of traditional knowledge, which is the subject of Aboriginal art — and is contained in stories and songs passed down from generation to generation. It is believed that these songs originated in the Dreaming and were given to humans by the ancestors. They not only describe the activities and journeys of Dreaming ancestors but also provide a “map” of places that were visited by the ancestors and a set of laws to guide human activity. Despite this traditional focus, Aboriginal art is contemporary art. Aboriginal people continuously integrate new media, new techniques, new styles and new meanings into a vibrant, evolving art practice that has gained international acclaim.  “New Dreams for Old” (the title is taken from a poem by Cale Young Rice) examines both the traditional basis of Aboriginal art and its contemporary expression.

On Saturday, Nov. 11, the museum with host a Family Art JAM, “Exploring Aboriginal Art,” which will feature hands-on activities from 1 to 3 p.m. Young artists, ages 4 to 12, and their families or caregivers are welcome to work with a studio instructor to create their own artwork inspired by the exhibition. Youths 9 to 12 may work with studio volunteers. Reservations are recommended; call (434) 243-2050. Drop-ins will be accommodated if space allows. The event is $3 for one adult member plus one-to-two children; $10 for non-members; $2 for each additional child.

Smith will give a Gallery Talk at 3 p.m. Both the talk and the Family Art JAM will take place in the museum.

The museum is open to the public free of charge Tuesday through Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information call (434) 924-3592 or visit the museum Web site www.virginia.edu/artmuseum.