In Israel

Tracks and Traces
Contemporary Australian Art in Israel


Shirley Purdie

Minyjaarranj (Black Plum), 2017

Thalngarrji (Snappy Gum), 2017

45 x 45 cm
Natural ochre and pigment on canvas
Gene & Brian Sherman Collection, Sydney
Image: silversalt photography

Tracks and Traces: Contemporary Australian Art
Curated by Dr Dalia Manor and Emily Rolfe
Negev Museum of Art, Be’er Sheva, Israel
Opening: 30 October 2017

Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation (SCAF), Sydney, in conjunction with The Negev Museum of Art, Be’er Sheva, presents Tracks and Traces. Co-curated by Negev Museum Director Dr Dalia Manor and SCAF’s Assistant Curator, Emily Rolfe, this exhibition comprises painting, sculpture, photography and film by nine Australian artists. Staged to coincide with the Centenary of the Battle of Beersheba, Tracks and Traces thoughtfully profiles contemporary Australia and its complex anatomy of divergent cultures and histories.

Contemporary Australia, simultaneously both an ‘old’ and ‘young’ country, has experienced a marked transformation after tens of thousands of years of Indigenous habitation. From a colonial settlement of over two hundred years, Australia has transformed into a cosmopolitan, multicultural society reflecting diverse ancestries that speak a multiplicity of languages. Resource-rich and geographically isolated, its population now more urban than rural, less European and religious, Australia is a nation defined by loss and rebirth, contrast and diversity.

Contemporary Australian art mirrors this multiple layering, offering profound insights into the nation’s ongoing evolution. These realities are amply illustrated in Tracks and Traces through the selection of exhibiting artists. Work by urban-based Brook Andrew, Vernon Ah Kee, Danie Mellor and Christian Thompson with mixed Aboriginal, European, Asian and Jewish heritages, remote community Aboriginal artist Shirley Purdie, Scottish-born Joan Ross, Japanese-born Hiromi Tango, and Australian-born artists Rosemary Laing and Shaun Gladwell create a kaleidoscope of perspectives that draw inspiration from, or find their roots in their the adpoted or native homeland.

Collectively their works express ‘the Australian condition’, referencing a contested space resulting from the legacies of colonialism and cultural conflict. A spiritual connection to the land and landscapes of desert, bush and ocean is almost invariably evident in these artist’s works.

During these historical centenary celebrations Tracks and Traces aims to present a sense of nation and society, both ancient and modern, and to link the phenomena of past Australia with historic Palestine and modern day Israel.

Via this exhibition it is hoped that viewers will expand their social horizons and embrace a shared humanity.