FEATURED GALLERY PRESENTATION

A mesmerizing display of Australian Aboriginal Master Artists will be hosted by Natalie Holubnytschyj of Australian Aboriginal Art Gallery in her first trip abroad since Covid-19. Natalie has amassed an amazing 30 years dealing with Australian Aboriginal art and its great artists. Her career began as a teen in her father’s galleries in Melbourne and Alice Springs in the late 1990s where she cultivated working relationships with major artists and their families. This can best be seen with the Possum family. Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, considered one of the forefathers of the Aboriginal art movement, had a close bond with the Hollow’s and lived with Natalie and her family in Sydney for a period of time. Natalie has spent countless hours watching him paint and listening to his stories. This family bond has also encapsulated working relationships with his daughters, Gabriella and Michelle Possum Nungurrayi, and his grandchildren who are also starting their artist endeavors. Natalie has worked closely with Gabriella and has been a fan of her Milky Way series since the early 1990s.

The Milky Way with all its soft glowing stars and dark starless patches is a place with many landmarks for the Aboriginal people. The Milky Way is considered by the Aborigines as a visual representation of the microcosm within the self. Tracking the inner self is knowing the pathways of the Milky Way. Those pathways remain esoteric and can only be released by the artist during ritual. The Milky Way is a sacred residence for totemic beings.

The song lines of the Milky Way Dreaming have travelled from the far northern reaches of Arnhem Land down across the continent, through Central Australia and beyond. This is the story of the seven sisters. They were the mythological sisters of the Tjukurrpa. Today they can still be seen wandering across the skies at night as the constellation Pleiades.

A Jakamarra man, (The Morning Star in Orion's belt), is pursuing seven Sisters (the cluster of seven stars in the constellation Taurus, known as Pleiades). The story tells of the women who, in a final attempt to escape Jakamarra, turn into fire at Kurlunyalimpa and ascend the heavens to become stars. This Dreaming is closely associated with men's secret sacred ceremonies. The colours in the painting reflect the night sky with its brilliant glowing stars.

This showing includes works by 3 generations of the Possums and features Gabriella’s new series of work “Salty Lake”. These striking black and white paintings topographically depict the artists country, telling the story of a dried-out lake not far from Mount Allan. During the hot summer months, the temperatures in Mount Allan will reach 45 - 48 degrees Celsius. When the soakage dries out, salt crystals are formed and left behind shimmering in the hot sun. Mount Allan is also an important women's ceremony site. The women travel long distances, from all directions to participate in the ceremonial activities. The lines in the painting indicate travelling tracks of the women from the dreamtime to the present time.

In preparation for the ceremony the women start painting their bodies with markings, ochres and spinifex ashes are mixed with Kangaroo or Emu fat to make the body paint. Usually during ceremonies, their bodypainting depicts similar linear designs as those illustrated in the ground paintings. The well-being of the community depends on women and men demonstrating their respect for the land through ceremony.

“I really love the new Salty Lake works by Gabriella. With just the use of black and white she magically transforms the canvas creating depth and movement. These works fit extremely well into contemporary spaces, while still holding traditional and cultural importance.” Natalie Hollow - Director, Australian Aboriginal Art Gallery.