Black Sky

11 February – 22 April 2023

Presented by the Berndt Museum, the Cruthers Collection of Women's Art and Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery.

Artists: Julie Dowling,Gobawarrah-Yinhawangka Traditional Owners and Michael Bonner, Tracey Moffatt, Tennant Creek Brio, Roy Wiggan, and Joseph Williams Jungarayi, Jimmy Frank Japarula and Lévi McLean.

Black Sky asserts sovereign visions of blackness – from the deep wounds of mining up to the expanses of the night sky. Far from neutral backdrops, skies are spaces that hold life and story, incite creation and dreams, and witness political action and environmental destruction. The exhibition traverses unlikely spaces of resistance and cultural continuation – from creation stories across horizon lines, to ambiances of the night club, to the atmospheric effects of mining, to creatures of flight, to the black of the Aboriginal flag as a symbol of sovereign solidarities across skies.Black Skyis an unending, eternal horizon of Indigenous life.
An immersive new film by Gobawarrah-Yinhawangka Traditional Owners and Yanyuwa/Jingili filmmaker Michael Bonner brings the ever-present creation story of the Western Ranges into the present-day reality of mining on Yinhawangka Country. Maintaining links to this significant story, which begins at the horizon line and goes up into the stars, is challenged by the constant dust from mining which obscures the very sky.
An installation by the artist collective Tennant Creek Brio captures the sprawling experimental energy of the group, traversing dark spaces and matter, from mining chasms to cosmological visions. Material layers of everyday life in a frontier town are transformed – discarded pokie machines sprout wings and old mining maps are reclaimed and over painted. A film and installation by Joseph Williams and Lévi McLean contemplates colonial residues on Warumungu country and the gold mining boom.
The Cruthers Collection of Women’s Art will present major works from Julie Dowling and Tracey Moffatt, which position the sky and horizon in relation to human figures. Julie Dowling’s intimate painted portraits capture everyday relationships within a longer purview of ancestral deep-time, while Tracey Moffatt’s rarely seen series Up in the Sky, 1998, presents ambiguous narratives in an outback setting. The prominent skies and harsh light under which various scenes unfold, raise the dramatic stakes and scale of these very human dramas.
Black Sky is presented as part of the Perth Festival Visual Arts Program, supported by Wesfarmers Arts.

Black Sky media release [PDF 458KB]

Black Sky Booklet Cover

Black Sky Catalogue [PDF 1.8MB]

Black Sky booklet cover

Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery season 1 program, 2023 [PDF 1.7MB]

Black Sky exhibition logos

Image: Gombawarrah-Yinhawangka, Paraburdoo area, photograph by Michael Bonner

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