A couple of ironies strike me. I am not at …

Comment on National Aboriginal Art Gallery: Anzac Oval off the table by Mark Wilson.

A couple of ironies strike me. I am not at all surprised re the lack of adequate consultation of the key stake-holders: the Indigenous custodians of this place and indeed more widely the council and people of Alice. To many white fellas art is as much about the space, the buildings and galleries in which it is displayed. The facilitators imagine the end product and want to shortcut the process. Hence the current priorities. The public flock to The Guggenheim Museum, The Met, The Tate etc with many unaware of the works displayed therein. These spaces becomes their own destination much like MONA (with emphasis) OUTSIDE Hobart. Perhaps The Louvre is an exception as the well known home of the famous Mona Lisa.
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On the other hand Indigenous visual art was historically completed in caves and overhangs, on bodies, on barks, on carved stumps and as petroglyphs carved into rocks and even in the temporal sands of Central Australia. It was not hoarded into purpose built spaces. Cultural artefacts are now regarded as ‘art’. I wonder if the ancient Indigenous saw them as any more than fish traps, mats, spears and burial chambers etc. Art was as much the process, the ceremony, as the product. But white fellas tend to worship the product.
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This brings me to the second irony that follows a posteriori from above. What exactly will we put in such an “iconic gallery” with the NTG acquisitions policies recently on display? Or is the building itself sufficient? Late last year the NTG I understand didn’t even bother to bid for the most significant art work by Emily Kngwarreye from Utopia that at auction sold overseas. The piece is questionably on par with Pollock’s Blue Poles, but without the controversy. I have seen Kngwarreye compared with Monet. The piece sold for a ‘mere’ $2.1m and is the record sale of an artwork by an Australian woman. Surely it is iconic works like these that will be needed in an “iconic” gallery to entice tourists to the middle of Australia, a long, expensive flight from everywhere with ho-hum equally expensive (by international standards) accommodation to greet them. Anyone who believes Alice accommodation is of world standard simply hasn’t travelled.

Mark Wilson Also Commented

National Aboriginal Art Gallery: Anzac Oval off the table
Indeed Maya. Places and objects, even art pieces become iconic. They are not born that way. Easter Island and Stonehenge come to mind.
It is the Court of Public Opinion, that is often heavily influenced by aspects of the aesthetic and uniqueness that determines the “iconic” nature.
These are as much established, even legitimised, by “experts”, even self appointed media ones, who make or break an object or place’s status.
To set out to build an iconic structure is a task fraught with problems from the outset.


Recent Comments by Mark Wilson

Gallery business case far from ‘well underway’
Is everyone as confused as me? So, more consultants are needed until they serve up the desired outcome? Maybe the Minister should have said “plans for plans are well under way”.
All sounds quite a fiasco. So, fix the brief to fix the desired NT Government outcome and dress it up as consultancy. I really must be missing something. Silly me. Forgive me, please.


Lhere Artepe director on aggravated assault charge
That we are having this conversation of said assault by a person emerging from the court on aggravated assault charges confirms that naivety aside, that too many people do have the attitude as described by Trevor.
We witness this type of behaviour daily. It is not wholly confined to Indigenous either. Our society has encouraged a sense of entitlement and a tolerance of unsatisfactory behaviour.


Visions from the Centre to light up the Sydney Opera House
How wonderful is this! The Opera House has become such an amazing canvas for all sorts of causes.
I do hope that the space is used for inclusive and not divisive causes of City of Sydney Council and NSW Government.


Will more consultants get tourism out of the mire?
Sorry Local 1, you don’t qualify for a consultancy fee on two grounds:
1. You’re a local and may see our town up close and holistically.
2. You speak too much common sense. Cannot possibly be a bloated “consultant”.


Will more consultants get tourism out of the mire?
Oh Trevor! I lament the stupidity and endless waste of money.
Who thinks the curbing at the southern Visitor Rock looks good in photos or is even necessary?
It’s like the Coober Pedy council undertaking curbing the streets in that iconic town. Makes you cry. Then the huge waste of money building that fencing and rail / road crossing through The Gap.
You are so correct. We had the Visitor Centre in a lovely position near the taxi rank and the library. Incidentally near the oversize parking on the river. But you’re correct. Put it out at the Visitor Rock.
The government now needs to manufacture visitor attractions. It seems it needs endless committees as well.
Why bother when their recommendations get ignored anyway? Too many of the iconic old buildings have not been protected by the NT and local governments.
Our town, that bloody courthouse that towers and reigns over us all could be a CBD just about anywhere.


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