Big Weather, a curation of artworks featuring some of the Indigenous community’s most diverse artists will be on display at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) from March 12.
An exclusive exhibition exploring the sophisticated understanding of weather systems that exist within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural knowledge, Big Weather celebrates an intimate understanding of the land, which has been handed down over generations and has been recorded through song, dance and art.
Big Weather consists of painting, photography, weaving and sculpture pieces, and will even include paintings on bark, thus encompassing various elements and customs of First Nations culture.
Director of the NGV, Tony Ellwood AM, says the exhibit is a telling depiction of recent climate emergencies, and will be accompanied by a multitude of iconic Indigenous pieces.
“Big Weather will present works that speak to specific historical and contemporary environmental events that shape Australia’s diverse landscape including recent acquisitions that will be presented at the NGV for the first time and respond directly to current events including the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires and the global climate emergency.
“Presented alongside these recent works will be pieces from the NGV Collection that reveal cultural stories and experiences interpreting the origins and effects of weather through works by artists including Albert Namatjira, Emily Kam Kngwarray, Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri and Rover Thomas,” he says.
Climate change is addressed in works exploring extreme weather including flooding, bushfires, cyclones, and storms, and how these events are changing our landscape. Multi-disciplinary artist Clinton Naina links the effects of climate change to the ongoing impacts of colonisation in a recently acquired work titled Stolen Climate, which won the prestigious Queensland Premier’s Award at the 2020 Cairns Indigenous Art Fair.
Upon entering the exhibition, visitors will be greeted by a sculpture of the powerful ancestral spirit Bolngu, the Thunderman by Johnny Yirryirrngu placed alongside John Mawurndjul’s 1992 painting Namarrkon ngal-daluk, the female lightning spirit, portraying a formidable spirit who strikes lightning down to earth announcing the arrival of the wet season to Kuninjku people of Western Arnhem Land.
Big Weather will be displayed at the National Art Gallery of Victoria from 12 March – 21 October 2021 at The Ian Potter Centre.