Open Now: MOA’s First Ever All-Women Exhibition Transcends Boundaries with­ – Marking the Infinite: Contemporary Women Artists from Aboriginal Australia

The Museum of Anthropology (MOA) at UBC presents the Canadian premiere of the breathtaking exhibitionMarking the Infinite: Contemporary Women Artists from Aboriginal Australia, on display from November 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019. Showcasing for the first time in MOA’s history a presentation of all-women artists, this exhibition features the artworks of nine Aboriginal women, who are all celebrated artists from tiny remote communities across Australia’s deserts and tropical north. Encompassing a wide range of subjects from the natural to sublime and from minute organisms to vast celestial bodies, the exhibition invites visitors to explore the immutable tension between the universal and the specific, and discover the power of traditional Indigenous knowledge in an increasingly digital world.

The compelling beauty of the artworks in Marking the Infinite holds open the possibility of unfettered appreciation, while their cultural distance precludes rational critique. You sense you are experiencing a shared humanity, a different world view, one where the land, the sea, and the sky are a continuum. This stunning exhibition offers a glimpse into the diverse contemporary art practices of women who have dedicated their lives to the quiet, dignified work of holding this world together. Their art focuses on the intimate and the infinite, the tiniest fruits of the earth and the stars above, a single stitch and the great web of creation, a brush across canvas and the unfolding infinity of being. —Carol E. Mayer, MOA’s Curator of the Pacific and the exhibition’s organizer

Marking the Infinite features the work of nine Aboriginal women—Nonggirrnga Marawili, Wintjiya Napaltjarri, Yukultji Napangati, Angelina Pwerle, Carlene West, Regina Pilawuk Wilson, Lena Yarinkura, Gulumbu Yunupingu, and Nyapanyapa Yunupingu— who are all contemporary artists represented internationally in private and public collections. Challenging the boundaries of the contemporary Aboriginal art scene in Australia since the late 1980s, these artists bring their ancient cultural knowledge into their contemporary practice. By continuing to create art, they are consciously revitalizing traditions, ensuring the continuity of their languages, bringing pride and autonomy to communities, and revealing the continued relevance of Indigenous knowledge in the 21st century.

For this exhibition, the 61 works, primarily paintings, will be installed in the Audain Gallery. The space will be transformed into an ephemeral microcosm of our natural world, providing a glimpse into another cosmic and infinite universe. Marking the Infinite is a unique opportunity for visitors to cross cultural and geographical boundaries and view the environment through a resonant Indigenous lens, commanding them to seek different ways of seeing and valuing their shared existence.

Originally curated by scholar and Australian native Henry Skerritt, Marking the Infinite is drawn from the collection of Miami-based art collectors Debra and Dennis Scholl. Following a lauded run at five galleries and museums across the United States of America, the exhibition makes its Canadian debut at MOA. A comprehensive, hardbound catalogue will accompany the exhibition comprised of essays by leading experts in the field edited by Skerritt, as well as a 28-page brochure edited by MOA’s Carol E. Mayer.

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