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at Clemenger BBDO Auditorium, NGV International

Emily Kam Kngwarray: Anwerlarr anganenty (Big Yam Dreaming) 1995

Emily Kam Kngwarray’s monumental artwork Big Yam Dreaming represents a central aspect of her cultural heritage.

The network of bold white lines on black, derived from women’s striped body paintings, suggests the roots of the pencil yam spreading beneath the ground — and the cracks in the ground created as it ripens.

Kngwarray’s country, Alhalker, is an important Anwerlarr (Pencil Yam) Dreaming site, the staple from which she takes her bush name, Kam (yam seed).

We’ll look at Aboriginal agriculture and land management, and the significance of yams – as food and cultural icon, in places as far-flung as Tonga and Central Australia.

Judith Ryan, senior curator of Indigenous Art at NGV, will talk about the artwork and place it in context.

Matt Preston, Masterchef’s resident food critic, will talk about true yams, finger yams, and the cultural importance of the yam in cultures such as Tonga and West Africa.

Indigenous writer Bruce Pascoe will talk about Aboriginal agriculture and land management.

Wurundjeri artist Mandy Nicholson will speak on the role of women in Aboriginal society, then and now.

Artist Clinton Nain will speak.

And author Ellen van Neerven will respond creatively to the work.


Australian Art Starting Conversations

Certain timeless works of art make us see the world differently. By experiencing famous paintings or sculptures, we can form an idea of what life was like when they were created.

But how much can iconic art teach us about the world today? Taking four historical works as a starting point, our guests make a series of lateral leaps to explore the diversity of the modern world through the prism of classic art.

After a curator from the National Gallery of Victoria places the work in context, five different speakers will explore the tangents that arise, leading the discussion surrounding the piece in new and unexpected directions. The evening concludes with a creative response directly inspired by the artwork itself.

In this instalment hosted by Michael Williams, guests – including food journalist and television personality Matt Preston, artists Mandy Nicholson and Clinton Nain, authors Bruce Pascoe and Ellen van Neerven, and the NGV’s senior curator of Indigenous Art, Judith Ryan – will present ideas, stories and observations inspired by Emily Kam Kngwarray’s Anwerlarr anganenty (Big Yam Dreaming).

Please enter through the North entrance, via Arts Centre Melbourne forecourt.

Presented by the Wheeler Centre and the NGV.

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Who?

Portrait of Judith Ryan

Judith Ryan

Judith Ryan AM is Senior Curator of Indigenous Art at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). Judith received a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Fine Arts and English Literature at The University of Melbourne and a Certificate in Education at Oxford University. In her role at the NGV she has curatorial responsibility for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, Oceanic Art and Pre-Columbian Art. Judith's special interest is Indigenous Australian art of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Judith has curated numerous exhibitions of Indigenous art, has published widely in the field and has been responsible for developing the NGV’s collection of Indigenous Art.

Portrait of Michael Williams

Michael Williams

Michael Williams is the Director of the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas in Melbourne. He has worked at the Wheeler Centre since inception in 2009, when he was hired as the Head of Programming before being appointed as Director in September 2011.

He has hosted Blueprint for Living (2015–2016), then Talkfest (2017–2019), on ABC RN. He remains a regular guest on ABC Radio and TV. Michael has also worked as a Breakfast presenter for Melbourne’s 3RRR, as a member of the Australia Council’s Literature Board, in publishing and has written extensively for the Guardian, the AgeSydney Morning HeraldAustralian and elsewhere.

Portrait of Clinton Nain

Clinton Nain

Clinton Nain (G’ua G’ua and Meriam) is an artist. He was born in 1971 in Melbourne, Victoria and lives and works in Melbourne.

Portrait of Mandy Nicholson

Mandy Nicholson

Mandy is a member of the Wurundjeri-willam clan of Melbourne and surrounds and currently lives in the South Eastern Suburbs. Mandy is a recognised artist, qualified Archaeologist and leader of the Djirri Djirri Dance Group. Mandy has been working at the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages since 2012 supporting language projects, school programs and communities in the revival of their languages.

Portrait of Matt Preston

Matt Preston

Matt Preston is an award-winning food journalist, restaurant critic and television personality. Best known as a judge and co-host of MasterChef Australia, Preston is also a senior editor for delicious and taste magazine.

Portrait of Ellen van Neerven

Ellen van Neerven

Ellen van Neerven is an award-winning writer of Mununjali Yugambeh (South East Queensland) and Dutch heritage. They write fiction, poetry, plays and non-fiction. Ellen’s first book, Heat and Light, was the recipient of the David Unaipon Award, the Dobbie Literary Award and the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Indigenous Writers Prize. Ellen’s second book, a collection of poetry, Comfort Food, was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Kenneth Slessor Prize and highly commended for the 2016 Wesley Michel Wright Prize. Throat is Ellen’s highly anticipated second poetry collection.

Portrait of Bruce Pascoe

Bruce Pascoe

Bruce Pascoe is a Yuin, Bunurong and Tasmanian man born in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond. He’s worked as a teacher, farmer, fisherman, barman, fencing contractor, lecturer, Aboriginal language researcher, archaeological site worker and editor. He’s also written thirty other books including the short story collections Night Animals and Nightjar, and academic texts including The Little Red Yellow Black Book with AIATSIS. Dark Emu (Magabala Books) won Book of the Year and the Indigenous Writer’s Prize at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards in 2016, and has now sold in excess of 200,000 copies.

Points of View

Australian art starting conversations

Certain timeless works of art make us see the world differently. By experiencing famous paintings or sculptures, we can form an idea of what life was like when they were created. But how much can iconic art teach us about the world today? Taking four historical works as a starting point, our guests make a series of lateral leaps to explore the diversity of the modern world through the prism of classic art.

The works are John Brack’s Collins St., 5p.m. 1955, Tom Roberts’ Shearing the rams 1890, Ron Mueck’s sculpture Two women 2005 and Emily Kam Kngwarray’s 1995 masterpiece Anwerlarr anganenty (Big Yam Dreaming).

After a curator from the National Gallery of Victoria places the work in context, three different speakers will explore the tangents that arise, leading the discussion surrounding the piece in new and unexpected directions. The evening concludes with a creative response directly inspired by the artwork itself.

Guests include sport and business journalist Gideon Haigh, ARIA-award-nominated musician The Bedroom Philosopher, media scholar Patricia Edgar, Telstra’s Head of Innovation Hugh Bradlow and feminist, writer and ethicist Leslie Cannold.

Please enter through the North entrance, via Arts Centre Melbourne forecourt.

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