Tillers - Tjanglala - Different Journeys-One Is this the national conversation we have to have?
By bernadette harris
Australian Art like the Australian nation itself is made up of many facets; the unlikely pairing of Imants Tiller's 'Conversation with the bride', with Uta Uta Tjangala's 'Jupiter Well to Tjukula'
demonstrates the broad sweep of art in this country.
Both artworks are in fact maps that explore the origins of what it is to be an Australian but told from completely different points of view. One from an Aboriginal perspective the other from a European point of view. How might we bring together these two very different conversations and celebrate these diverse worlds?
Both artworks are very difficult to look at in one go, only when the process of making the individual work is examined are the differences in cultural perspectives further revealed. In one the process of making reveals the artists's deep presence within his work. In the other industrial production almost obliterates the artists's hand. In fact, the work of Tiller's, Cazneaux and Hamilton all rely on mechanical reproduction in one form or another to give meaning to their work, each dot from Tjangala's hand resonates with his emotional commitment to his land.
Perhaps if we look at the function of each of the artworks we might discover a common ground for understanding both.
Both artists recognise the huge debt they owe to past traditions, be it to Duchamp or the stories honoured in the oral traditions.
Both artists recognise the regional differences they bring to their work and openly wish to share with contemporary audiences this perspective.
Most importantly the art gallery is perhaps the only place where this dialogue of differences and similarities can be shared and celebrated. The national conversation we need to have starts with us here in the Gallery.