Everywhen: The Eternal Present in Indigenous Art from Australia surveys contemporary Indigenous art from Australia, exploring the ways in which time is embedded within Indigenous artistic, social, historical, and philosophical life. For Indigenous people, the past is understood to be part of a cyclical and circular order known as the “everywhen”; conceptions of time rely on active encounters with both the ancestral and natural worlds. While the exhibition focuses on the last 40 years of Indigenous art, it also includes historical objects from the rich collections of Harvard University’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology to underscore both the continuity of cultural practice and remarkable adaptive innovations.
The exhibition showcases more than 70 works drawn from public and private collections in Australia and the United States, and features many works that have never been seen outside Australia. Works by some of the most significant contemporary Indigenous artists will be on view, including Rover Thomas and Emily Kam Kngwarray (both former representatives at the Venice Biennale); Judy Watson, recipient of the 2006 Clemenger Contemporary Art Award; Doreen Reid Nakamarra, who participated in dOCUMENTA (13); Vernon Ah Kee, who has also exhibited at the Venice Biennale, and most recently, the Istanbul Biennial; and the visual and performance artist Christian Thompson, who was recently mentored by Marina Abramović in Australia.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website
Whether you go or not, the exhibition catalog, , introduces the thematic, stylistic, and cultural diversity of contemporary Indigenous art from Australia and provides a cultural framework to help understand Indigenous concepts of time, emphasizing the importance of the land, the rich narratives that cleave to it, and the art it inspires. . Six essays and nearly 70 catalogue entries highlight many of the most significant Indigenous Australian artists of the last forty years. Organized around four central themes: ancestral transformation, ritualized performance, seasonality, and remembrance, examples of related historical objects and a technical examination of traditional Aboriginal bark paintings are also included.