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Grant number like: GI-271498-20

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University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA 22903-4833)
Margo Smith (Project Director: January 2020 to present)

Exhibitions: Implementation
Public Programs

[Grant products]

$300,000 (approved)
$300,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 12/31/2023

Implementation of the Traveling Exhibition "Madayin: Eight Decades of Aboriginal Australian Bark Painting from Yirrkala" and Associated Programs

Implementation of a traveling exhibition about the art, culture, and environment of the Yolngu people of northern Australia.

Madayin is a traveling exhibition that will immerse visitors in the art, culture and environment of the Yolngu people of tropical northern Australia. For millenia, Yolngu have painted sacred designs on their bodies and ceremonial objects. With the arrival of missionaries and anthropologists in 1935, they turned to eucalyptus bark to express the richness and complexity of their knowledge system to outsiders. The result was an outpouring of creativity that continues to this day as artists find innovative ways to express their worldview across cultures. A unique collaboration between Yolngu curators from Yirrkala and the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of UVA, Madayin presents the history of bark painting from a Yolngu perspective. Featuring more than 100 works produced between 1935-2019, it showcases eight decades of one of Australia’s most unique contributions to global art and culture, while exposing American audiences to a complex alternative way of viewing our shared planet.