Ashley Botkin and Addie Patrick
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Ashley Botkin and Addie Patrick
Ashley Botkin and Addie Patrick

Behind the Scenes: Curating, Land Rights, Arts and Innovation

In this webinar, Kluge-Ruhe interns Addie Patrick and Ashley Botkin join curator Henry F. Skerritt to discuss what it was like to curate the exhibition From Little Things Big Things Grow, currently on view at Kluge-Ruhe. In surveying six decades of artistic production, the exhibition shows the deeply personal ways in which individual artists relate to their lands and the innovative ways in which they express this continuing relationship. At the same time, it reveals the inextricable connection between art, identity and Indigenous people’s political desire to communicate their ownership of, and belonging to, places of their ancestors. What is the relationship between the land rights movement and Aboriginal art? What does it mean to curate Aboriginal art? What are the major themes of the exhibition? These questions and more will be answered in this one hour virtual program.  This program is free, but requires registration.

This exhibition and program are sponsored by The Jefferson Trust.


Henry F. Skerritt is the Curator of the Indigenous Arts of Australia at Kluge-Ruhe. An art historian and curator hailing from Perth, Western Australia, he curates exhibitions of Indigenous Australian art, and leads research and teaching initiatives at UVA using the collection’s holdings. Henry has a PhD from University of Pittsburgh, and a MA University of Pittsburgh, MA University of Melbourne, and BA Honors from the University of Western Australia

Ashley Botkin was a Mellon Grant curatorial intern under Henry Skerritt for the 2019-2020 school year. As an art history and religious studies double-major, Ashley found the work she did at the Kluge-Ruhe the perfect nexus of her studies. Ashley’s year at the Kluge-Ruhe was eye-opening and influential, and it has inspired her to continue studying Aboriginal art. She is currently taking a gap year, preparing to apply to PhD programs for continued study of Aboriginal art with the goal of becoming a professor of art history.

Addie Patrick worked as a curatorial intern at the Kluge-Ruhe during the 2019-2020 academic year. With Ashley and Henry, she drafted labels and designed layouts for multiple exhibits, including The Inside World, a traveling show of 115 memorial poles at the Fralin Art Museum, and From Little Things Big Things Grow, now on display at the Kluge-Ruhe. As an Anthropology major, Addie was fascinated by the many layers of meaning that go into Aboriginal art production, and learned more than she could have ever imagined at the Kluge-Ruhe. She graduated from the University of Virginia in 2020 with a BA in Anthropology and French, and is currently working as a Special Collections Assistant at UVA’s Law Library.

Note: this program will happen on Thursday, September 24 at 7 pm Eastern Standard Time (in the USA), and on Friday, September 25  at 9 am Australian Eastern Standard Time. This webinar is not happening twice; it’s happening once but we have listed the time it is happening in two separate time zones.