The summer of 2020-2021 has seen the opening of some significant new or renovated/expanded museums from the east to the west coast in Australia. Those of us in Sydney have been blessed with the opportunity to tour the refreshed Pacific gallery as well as the expanded exhibition spaces resulting from the major renovation of Australia’s first museum, the Australian Museum as well as to see the newly built Chau Chak Wing Museum at the University of Sydney incorporating collections from the previously separate Macleay, Nicholson and Power Museums and Galleries now presented in new spaces and in new ways.
Border closures and recent lockdowns have prevented most Australians from having the opportunity to venture within the mix of old and new buildings that form the renamed (in the local Whadjuk Noongar language) WA Museum Boola Bardip in the centre of Perth’s Northbridge cultural precinct.
Matt Poll, curator of two of the new exhibitions at the newly opened Chau Chak Wing Museum, has expanded on his lecture to the OAS’s 25th anniversary event with the theme of “Ambassadors and embassies in the new Chau Chak Wing Museum” in this edition of the Journal. This model of engaging the creating community and their descendants in managing and displaying the artworks makes the art a living cultural connection between generations and between places.
Independent researcher David Ferguson’s diligent research has identified a newly identified and remarkable female ancestral sculpture which appears related to the art style of Kiwai people from the lower Fly River Delta and provided a very comprehensive checklist of 69 ancestor sculptures from the Kiwai area. European interest in the arts of Oceania continues to expand with the activities of a group of young European scholars and curators who have written about the creation, purpose and activities of their newish organisation CASOAR. Sadly, the OAS is also farewelling another member who has made a significant contribution to the Organisation with an obituary for Evarne Coote.
In anticipation of many OAS events during 2021, we are looking forward to Crispin Howarth presenting the first OAS lecture in March.
Photo Caption: Gululu dhuwala djalkiri exhibition at the Chau Chak Wing Museum.