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May 19: Possum Tales: The secret story of an Australian artist told through paint and canvas.

Nunavut Arctic College & Jewellery and Metalwork Program presents a public lecture series on the History of Art and Jewellery! In 1992, Australian artist Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri was asked by his friend, art dealer Peter Los, to “paint his very best picture” for him.

By then in his 60s, Possum had become one of the most famous contemporary artists from the Northern Territory’s Western Desert area, working in an acrylic painting style known as dot art, a genre rooted in the ephemeral Aboriginal tradition of depicting dreaming stories on the ground.

What Clifford Possum in fact painted for his friend was not only an extremely conceptual autobiography, but also a pointed political statement about aboriginal nationalism whose meaning is only now emerging, thirteen years after the artist’s death.

This talk takes us on a journey into the world of Australian aboriginal culture through the exploration of the meaning embedded in the colours and patterns depicted on this canvas, to uncover why Clifford Possum’s “very best picture” has been a mystery until now.

Don't miss this exciting presentation!

Dr. Donna Bilak received her PhD in 2013 from the Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture in New York City. Currently, she is at the History of Science and Technology Postdoctoral Fellow for “The Making and Knowing Project” at Columbia University, Department of History.

Where and When:

Nunavut Research Institute, Building 959-A, Iqaluit
Tuesday May 19, 2015 at 6:30 p.m.

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