Contemporary Parisian Galleries Showcase Sought-After Aboriginal Art
BYLINE: Claire Rosemberg
PARIS: After fetching record prices in Australia, Aboriginal art is carving out a place on the art market in France, spurred by the opening last year of the Quai Branly museum of tribal arts here.
The artworks date back to the 1970s, when teacher Geoffrey Bardon first supplied Aboriginal elders with acrylic paints to help sedentary children learn beliefs once acquired by travelling on foot.
The tales now told on modern-day canvas of the "Dreamtime", or creation, previously were set down in sand or on bark.
The dots, circles and lines of contemporary canvases depicting ancient beliefs since have become particularly sought after by lovers of contemporary and abstract art.
More than half a dozen displays of Australian indigenous art are being held in the Paris area this month.
Perhaps the most significant during last week's Parcours du Monde event, was the gathering of 50 galleries and dealers in primitive arts in the heart of the city.
With Paris firmly established as the world's top city for primitive
arts, both contemporary Aboriginal art as well as ancient artefacts such as sacred storyline churingas and storyboards were on view.
"Six or seven years ago nobody here could care less about Aboriginal art," said gallery owner Stephane Jacob, who specialises in contemporary Australian indigenous works.
After a few shows in the mid-1980s and since, Aboriginal artists finally walked into the limelight last year after being commissioned to paint parts of the new Quai Branly museum.
"First people were curious, then enthusiastic," said Jacob.
Several galleries now show Aboriginal works, including Yapa Gallery which opened last year and promotes Aboriginal song and dance as well as art. …