why do we have these?
Our location in a historic house means that a significant amount of our museum space is not capable of being climate-controlled to the extent required to exhibit artwork from our permanent collection. At the same time, most Americans are largely unfamiliar with Australian people, geography and histories, so we have used these spaces to introduce our audiences to key topics and themes in the art on view. This enriches the visitor experience and provides essential context for a deeper appreciation of Indigenous Australian art and culture. In both exhibitions, we have prioritized Indigenous voices throughout, and various visiting Indigenous artists and curators have reviewed and participated in the curation. We are grateful to Photoworks Group for the production and installation of both exhibitions, and our sponsors: the BAMAWorks Fund of Dave Matthews Band and the UVA Arts Council.
The informational exhibition in the Entrance Gallery, or lobby, of the museum provides an introduction to the diversity of Indigenous Australian people and artists. It also outlines Indigenous Australian art as a global and dynamic contemporary art movement, and provides a brief history of the museum and the building.
In our Breezeway, a long hallway that links the main galleries to the Library, we have a participatory art-making space, a touch wall and an exhibition that highlights key moments of colonial invasion, Indigenous Australian civil rights, and Indigenous resilience in the face of ongoing systemic discrimination and oppression. It also provides an introduction the concept of the Dreaming, which is central to some Indigenous Australian art.