Who’s Afraid of Colour?

16 Dec 2016 — 17 Apr 2017 at National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia

13 DECEMBER 2016
Who’s Afraid of Colour?. Courtesy of NGV
Who’s Afraid of Colour?. Courtesy of NGV

Who’s Afraid of Colour? will bring together over 200 contemporary artworks by 118 Indigenous Australian women. Encompassing works from across artistic disciplines, from customary woven objects and bark paintings to contemporary acrylic canvases and modern photographic and digital works, this unprecedented survey of Indigenous Australian women’s art from the NGV Collection will open on 16 December 2016 at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia.

Tony Ellwood, Director, NGV, said, ‘Since coming into prominence in the late 1980s, Indigenous women have transformed Australian contemporary art, experimenting boldly across artistic mediums and challenging popular notions about how Indigenous art should be created and interpreted. Who’s Afraid of Colour? celebrates the diversity and daring of their work.’

Spread across six gallery spaces, Who’s Afraid of Colour? will showcase a variety of contemporary artistic practices both traditional and experimental, including painting, sculpture, drawing, ceramics, glass, video, photography, jewellery, textiles, design and installation.

Major new acquisitions featured in the exhibition include iconic photographs by Melbourne-based artists Destiny Deacon and Bindi Cole Chocka, two artists using photography and digital media to explore and challenge notions around Aboriginality.

Large scale works by one of Australia’s most prominent contemporary artists Emily Kam Kngwarray will be an exhibition highlight, including the painting Anwerlarr anganenty (Big yam Dreaming)1995, measuring approximately three by eight metres, which travelled to the Royal Academy of Arts, London as part of the Australia exhibition in 2013. Emily Kam Kngwarray, Judy Watson and Yvonne Koolmatrie, all featured in this exhibition, represented Australia at the Venice Biennale in 1997 in a landmark moment which acknowledged the importance of Indigenous women’s art practice on an international scale.

Exhibition highlights also include large bodies of work by individual artists which will be shown together for the first time, including a series of paintings by Warlpiri artist Lorna Napurrurla Fencer, mixed media and video works by the interdisciplinary Tasmanian Aboriginal artist Julie Gough, and paintings by the renowned Gija artist Queenie McKenzie of Warmun, Western Australia.