Below is our preview, giving background information about the exhibition. Click here to read our Indigenous Australia review.
The Land Down Under has a complicated relationship with its Aboriginal roots. In this major British Museum exhibition 2015, we take a trip through lush rainforests and arid landscapes to discover 60,000 years of rich cultural history, marked by hundreds of different Indigenous groups. This new exhibition at the British Museum taps into a side of Australia that you might never have heard about.
Indigenous Australia exhibition
Enduring Civilisation brings together artefacts of Aboriginal art and culture from the Australian Museum and the British Museum collection of over 6,000 Aboriginal objects, including artefacts, photographs and contemporary artworks. British Museum curators have also collaborated with Aboriginal people to discuss which objects to display. Excitingly, these items will later travel to the National Museum of Australia, Canberra, for the first time since they were collected.
British Museum exhibition 2015 highlights
Look out for a shield taken after a skirmish on the beach between the Gweagal people and Captain Cook's expedition in 1770; and Yumari (1981), an iconic painting by Uta Uta Tjangala that is printed on every Australian passport. Alongside masks, rattles, baskets and an abundance of ceremonial and everyday objects, you’ll find fascinating contemporary art, including work from the foundation Spinifex and Indigenous artists Julie Gough, Judy Watson and dancer Elma Kris.
British Museum controversy
After the hubbub over the Elgin Marbles, the drama is not over at the British Museum. There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the Australia exhibition, as the Aboriginal community have renewed their request to have certain artefacts returned. Under UK law, the British Museum cannot actually give back these objects, but long-term renewable loans have not been ruled out.
So if you don’t know a lot about the British Museum’s collection, don’t miss this major exhibition of Australian Indigenous history for a fascinating glimpse at Aboriginal cultures.
|What||Indigenous Australia: Enduring Civilisation, British Museum|
|Where||British Museum, Great Russell St, London, WC1B 3DG | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Tottenham Court Road (underground)|
23 Apr 15 – 02 Aug 15, Open daily 10.00–17.30, Fridays until 20.30
|Price||£10, Children free|
|Website||Click here to book tickets|