Aboriginal and Torres Strait peoples are advised that this document mentions names of deceased people.
The public are invited to celebrate the opening of the exhibition Mapa Wiya (Your Map’s Not Needed): Australian Aboriginal Art from the Fondation Opale, on view September 13, 2019 – February 2, 2020 in the Menil Collection main building. Join us for an evening of music and dance performances by David Williams, Stanley Gawurra Gaykamangu, and Amrita Hepi. The main museum building will stay open late until 9 p.m. Food trucks will be available.
The evening will begin with a welcome and performance by David Williams, a descendant of the Wakka Wakka people from central southwest Queensland. Williams will play the didgeridoo, a wind instrument originating from Arnhem Land in Northern Australia. The celebration will continue with an outdoor musical performance by Stanley Gawurra Gaykamangu, a Yolngu professional performing artist hailing from Milingimbi (Yurrwi), North East Arnhem Land. With an emotional and resonant voice, Gawurra’s performances deliver a masterful musical sensitivity. Following Gawurra will be a performance by choreographer and dancer Amrita Hepi, from Bundjulung (Aus) and Ngapuhi (NZ) territories. Hepi’s outdoor installation, An Occupation, is part sculpture and part performance, in which she uses an inflatable structure.
This event is free and open to everyone.
About the exhibition:
The Menil is pleased to present Mapa Wiya (Your Map’s Not Needed): Australian Aboriginal Art from the Fondation Opale. Meaning “no map” in the Pitjantjatjara language of the Central Australian desert region, the exhibition title is drawn from a recent drawing by artist Kunmanara (Mumu Mike) Williams (1952–2019), the first showing of his work in an American art museum. His recuperation of official government maps and postal bags is a pointed response to the foreign cartographies of the country that Australian Aboriginal peoples embody.
Reflecting on the long history of art making and different ways of Aboriginal peoples, Mapa Wiya highlights work created after the 1950s and includes more than 100 contemporary paintings, shields, hollow log coffins (larrakitj or lorrkkon), and engraved mother of pearl (lonka lonka or riji) held by the Fondation Opale in Lens, Switzerland, one of the most significant collections of Aboriginal art. The exhibition showcases large, vibrant, and at times collaboratively-painted works by internationally-recognized artists such as Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri (1932–2002), Paddy Nyunkuny Bedford (1922–2007), Emily Kame Kngwarreye (ca. 1910–1996), Gulumbu Yunupingu (1945–2012), John Mawurndjul (b. 1952), and Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri (b. 1950).