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The Phillips Collection: Marking the Infinite

Marking the Infinite: Contemporary Women Artists from Aboriginal Australia

The Phillips Collection: Marking the Infinite spotlights nine leading Aboriginal Australian women artists: Nonggirrnga Marawili, Wintjiya Napaltjarri, Yukultji Napangati, Angelina Pwerle, Lena Yarinkura, Gulumbu Yunupingu, Nyapanyapa Yunupingu, Carlene West, and Regina Pilawuk Wilson. The artists are from remote Aboriginal communities across Australia, and the subjects of their art are broad, yet each work is an attempt to grapple with fundamental questions of existence, asking us to slow down and pay attention to the natural world. 


In the late 1980s women artists took the reins of the contemporary Aboriginal art movement in Australia. After years of working in the shadows, assisting their fathers and husbands, they burst onto the scene, giving it a new vitality and dynamism. Women artists redrew the boundaries of Aboriginal art, and continue to be among its most daring innovators. Though cultural activity has always been central to the secular and sacred lives of women, art making in recent decades has offered a key means for women to also maintain their social and economic independence.

The nine artists in this exhibition offer a glimpse into the diverse contemporary art practice of Aboriginal Australia. Hailing from remote areas across the island continent, they are revered matriarchs, commanding leadership roles and using art to empower their respective communities. The works are steeped in ancient cultural traditions, specific to each artist, and yet speak to universal contemporary themes, revealing the continued relevance of indigenous knowledge in the 21st century.

The subjects of the works range from remote celestial bodies and the native bush plum’s tiny flowers to venerable craft traditions and women’s ceremonies. Accordingly, each work grapples with the most fundamental questions of existence. Every mark bears testament to natural and cosmological cycles that put one’s being into perspective, whether the ebb and flow of sacred waters and ancestral sands, or the simple passage of a brush against canvas.

These artists make marks upon the infinite, asserting both our shared humanity and differences in experiencing and valuing the same planet.


Date: June 2 - September 9, 2018
General Admission: $12
Students and visitors 62 years and older: $10
18 and under: Free

Key dates/special exhibit events

June 14, 6.30pm: Lecture and presentation by exhibition curator Henry Skerritt
July 12, 6.30pm: Mark Making drawing workshop lead by local artist Racquel Keller
July 26, 6.00pm: Film Screening: Samson and Delilah
August 16, 6.00pm: Film Screening: Rabbit Proof Fence
August 30, 6.00pm: Film Screening: Ten Canoes

For more information on this collection and to purchase your ticket, please see the The Phillips Collection website.