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Installation view of Big Weather at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne on display from 12 March 2021 – 6 February 2022 Photo: Tom Ros

Big Weather exhibition about Indigenous knowledge of weather and climate opens at NGV Australia

Unveiled today at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Big Weather is an NGV exclusive exhibition about the sophisticated knowledge First Nations people have of the country’s climate explored in this exhibition through artworks that share and celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural knowledge of weather systems.

Over 50 artists from the NGV Collection will be represented in Big Weather including Emily Kam Kngwarray, Albert Namatjia, Rover Thomas, Nici Cumpston, and Yvonne Koolmatrie. Newly acquired works by artists including late Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi photographer Michael Riley, emerging Yorta Yorta/Taungurung artist and weaver Donna Blackall, Wiradjuri artist Karla Dickens and multi-disciplinary artist Clinton Naina will be presented at NGV for the first time.

Laurie Nona, Dhanalgaw thamai (Cultural shift), 2015, linocut. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne © Laurie Nona, courtesy of KickArts Contemporary Arts
John Mawurndjul Namarrkon ngal-daluk, the female lightning spirit earth pigments on Stringybark (Eucalyptus sp.). National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 1992 © The artist, licenced by Copyright Agency, Australia

Artworks in the exhibition will illuminate the changing landscape of Australia and the increasing occurrence of catastrophic weather events including destructive winds, major floods and devastating fires, as was experienced during the 2019-20 summer now known as ‘Black Summer’. Through these works the exhibition recognises how we are in a moment in history that requires Indigenous cultural leadership and knowledge to navigate the climate challenges faced by the country.

Spanning painting, sculpture, photography, weaving and film, works throughout the exhibition reveal ways in which Indigenous people are connected to and understand Country through depictions of waterways, plants and grasses, animals and fish, air, wind, clouds and storms. Iconic watercolour landscape works by master Western Arrernte artist Albert Namatjira will be presented alongside works by contemporary Western Arrernte artists and others inspired by his legacy to reveal changes in the landscape and highlight the importance of intergenerational transfer of knowledge.

Big Weather opens on 12 March 2021 at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia and runs until 6 February 2022.

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Acknowledgement of Country

Wherever and whenever we walk, we acknowledge and pay our respects to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the Traditional Custodians and Owners of the land.