New exhibition of Indigenous art opens in the National Gallery of Australia

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An exhibition bringing together works of Indigenous artists kicks off at the National Gallery of Australia on Saturday.

Titled "The fourth National Indigenous Art Triennial: Ceremony", it showcases 18 new bodies of work by 38 First Nations artists from across the country, and will run until July 31.

Exhibits across the National Gallery site include works in the Sculpture Garden, Fern Garden and on Lake Burley Griffin. It collected a variety of art forms including sculpture, painting, ceramics, moving image, photography, etc.

"In each ceremonial action, artists make an individual mark in our history. Ceremony is the nexus of Country, culture and community, and the fourth National Indigenous Art Triennial is another stitch in a timeless heritage," says Hetti Perkins, an Arrernte and Kalkadoon woman who is curator of the exhibition.

Local Ngambri-Ngunnawal Elder Matilda House and her son Paul Girrawah House have created Mulanggari yur-wang (alive and strong), a permanent public art installation of tree scarring in the National Gallery Sculpture Garden.

Artists from the Yarrenyty Arltere and Tangentyere Artists collectives have collaborated in Mparntwe/Alice Springs to create a soft sculpture in the form of a Blak Parliament House, an Aboriginal take on Australia's political heartland.

James Tylor put together photographs of the Kaurna Country and small bronze sculptures of objects such as leaf, shell and feather, in a bid to highlight the mistakes, misinterpretation and loss of knowledge in the social documentation of Kaurna culture.

Dylan River of Kaytetye portrayed in a large painting on the wall an eye. "But if you look closely you see in the reflection of the eyes their Country," said the artist. "The place that started for my grandmother, and for a lot of 'half-caste' Aboriginal children in Central Australia, was The Bungalow, the old Telegraph Station."

"Ceremony, the fourth iteration of the National Indigenous Art Triennial curated by one of the nation's most respected curators and cultural voices Hetti Perkins, continues the legacy of First Nations excellence seen throughout its history," said National Gallery Director Nick Mitzevich.

He noted that since the National Indigenous Art Triennial was established in 2007, it had become one of the most important exhibitions for First Nations art, artists, and culture in Australia.

"Importantly, we continue to find new ways for the Triennial to reach the widest possible audience and bring First Nations art and culture into the lives of all Australians," he said. "The exhibition will tour the country and, for the first time, for the National Gallery, a digital publication will bring the stories of the artists and their art to a global audience."

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