The Adrian and Anne Newstead Indigenous Art Collection
This exhibition draws on the extensive personal collection of Indigenous art accumulated by Adrian and Anne Newstead while working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists over the past 30 years. Adrian Newstead is a dealer, writer and consultant. He and Anne own the oldest Aboriginal art gallery in Australia.
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Adrian and Anne began their involvement with the creation and subsequent bloom/boom of the Aboriginal art market in 1980. Their art collection is an intimate one, built through personal relationships, serendipity, and a keen sense of historical and cultural importance. It is a platform by which a different narrative can be told: that of art as an expression of relationships, culture, spirituality, the land and kinship.
The Newstead Collection comprises more than 1000 canvas paintings, barks, artefacts, prints, posters and sculptures. It represents a linear history of Aboriginal art and craft from the earliest days of the movement, through to the establishment of the first art centres and, beyond this, into the mainstreaming of Aboriginal art and its national and international acceptance as a dynamic contemporary art movement.
There is a strong emphasis on printmaking as Adrian Newstead was instrumental in initiating this medium amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. He published hundreds of limited editions, as well as organising and promoting Australian Indigenous prints on the international stage. This exhibition includes rare examples of early prints, as well as those by several of indigenous Australia’s most important printmakers.
During Adrian and Anne Newstead’s 30-year involvement, black art has moved inexorably onto white walls, subtly affecting the many millions of people who have come to live with and love it. Many would say that the Aboriginal art movement has been the single most effective vehicle in advancing understanding, empathy and reconciliation between black and white Australia.
Viewing this beautiful show and reading the meanings of the works, and the circumstances under which they were collected, reveals the story of a very personal journey deep into the culture of Australia’s oldest inhabitants.
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