I suspect that in 50 years time the best of Australian Aboriginal art will be seen as some of the most significant in the world during our time.
An exhibition of art by nine Aboriginal women, Marking the Infinite, is running at the Newcomb Art Museum of Tulane University, New Orleans. This is from the blurb:
- Hailing from remote areas across the island continent, the nine artists in this exhibition are revered matriarchs, commanding leadership roles and using art to empower their respective communities. Their works are steeped in ancient cultural traditions, specific to each artist, and yet speak to universal contemporary themes, revealing the continued relevance of Indigenous knowledge in the twenty-first century.
The subjects of the works range from remote celestial bodies and the native bush plum’s tiny flowers to venerable crafts traditions and women’s ceremonies. And yet, each work grapples with the most fundamental questions of existence. Every mark bears testament to natural and cosmological cycles that put one’s being into perspective: whether the ebb and flow of sacred waters and ancestral sands, or the simple passage of a brush against canvas. Theirs are marks upon the infinite, asserting both our shared humanity and differences in experiencing and valuing the same planet.
Here are two samples. First a detail of Angelina Pwerle’s “Bush Plum”:
Then Regina Pilawuk Wilson’s “Sun Mat”:
The works appear to be from a private collection in the USA.
2. When Greeks became white
Commonly Europeans are thought of being white. This article suggests that six ancient European civilisations were mistakenly thought to have homogenous white populations. The degree of black varies, but this is what they say about the Greeks:
- A 2001 genetic study out of the Universidad Complutense in Madrid also concluded that modern Greeks had African origins and were genetically closer to Ethiopian/sub-Saharan groups than to any other Mediterranean groups such as Macedonians, Iberians (including Basques), North Africans, Italians, French, Cretans, Jews, Lebanese, Turks (Anatolians), Armenians and Iranians.
Fotis Kapetopoulos asks when did the Greeks become white?
From the mid 19th and early 20th centuries we were seen as ‘semi-coloured’ and were prohibited, later restricted, from entry to Australia. This was the same in the USA and Canada.
He says the White Australia Policy was definitely meant to keep Greeks out, among others. Still they came and:
- by the 1980s we graduated to sort of white in Australia, due to our numbers, changes to our names and the pluralist policy of multiculturalism. Our ‘success’ in education, business and politics played a role as well.
Also the influx of immigrants from the 1970s who were less white than they were.
Here it is:
- Nor would the strongman who comes to power do anything but worsen economic conditions. He writes next, “after my imagined strongman takes charge, he will quickly make his peace with the international superrich.”
As predicted in 2000, a Trump presidency will be followed by Lisa Simpson, who says:
- “As you know, we’ve inherited quite a budget crunch from President Trump.” In fact, the country is “broke,” she learns, after Trump’s presidency.
4. Scrambling to come to terms with Trump victory
Meanwhile, in Australia politicians scrambled to come to terms with Trump and Trumpism.
Labor has revived a race ethics code, first invented in 1998 by Labor and the Australian Democrats to counter the racism of One Nation.
You can say it’s just Bill playing politics, but why wouldn’t LNP politicians sign up to truthfulness and tolerance? Does Turnbull want to retain the right to tell lies?
Labor is also rebadging the 457 visa policy it took to the election as Australia First, to address the fears of those who feel they may be left behind.
The LNP too is tweaking its 457 visa policy, allowing visa holders only to stay 60 days instead of 90 if they lose their jobs.
Peter Dutton reckons Malcolm Fraser let in some of the wrong people back in the 1970s, who are now responsible for radicalisation and gang warfare.
Malcolm Turnbull thinks we need to double down on globalisation, not react away from it, so he’s extending the definition of ‘fairness’ so that having losers as well as winners is seen as normal.
However, there’s been a bit of a political earthquake in the NSW Orange by-election, where on latest count the Fishers, Shooters and Farmers are ahead by 55 votes – a recount on Monday will decide. Apparently the swing against the Nats was 60% in some booths.
Introduction to Saturday salon
Because of the way the blog currently presents posts on the home page I think it’s better to remove the introductory material to a different place. For new readers, here’s the rationale for this space.
An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.
For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.
The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.
Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.
The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:
The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.