The Boomerang Effect – The Aboriginal Arts in Australia
White walls, neon writing, clean lines: the MEG’s new exhibition “The Boomerang Effect. The Aboriginal Arts of Australia” welcomes its visitors in a space evocative of a contemporary art gallery. Here the MEG unveils one of its finest collections and reveals the wealth of Indigenous Australia’s cultural heritage. Visiting this exhibition, we understand how the attempts to suppress Aboriginal culture since the colonisation in the 18th century have ended up having the opposite of their desired result.
Alongside utilitarian objects and weapons (boomerangs, spears, shields) and artefacts used in exchanges between communities (engraved pearl shells, message sticks), the exhibition displays works illustrating the aboriginal mythological tales.
The artist Brook Andrew, whohas been invited by the MEG to do a residency in the context of the exhibition, focuses his own gaze on the culture and history of Australia’s first inhabitants.
With the GhostNets project, presented on a monumental scale in the MEG exhibition, Torres Strait Islanders make marine animals out of bits of fishing nets lost at sea (ghost nets). Art thus becomes a tool for denouncing ecological issues.
In a real boomerang effect, the destruction of their culture, have led the Aborigines to strengthen their identity and to display unprecedented creativity. Aboriginal artists have managed to find their own way of using the plastic media of expression in order to further their cause.
Musée d’Ethnographie de Genève (MEG)
Nussbaum, Virginie, ‘L’art aborigène, plus affranchi que jamais‘, Le Temps, 7 juin 2017