Visiting artist Gabriel Maralngurra works with UVA students in virtual residency

March 5, 2021

I feel proud that I’m sharing this painting, of myself and my people. Here in Gunbalanya and for the rest of the world to hear the stories which will never be forgotten. – GABRIEL MARALNGURRA

(photo by Tom Cogill)

The Mellon Indigenous Arts Program is very happy to welcome back Gabriel Maralngurra as a virtual Visiting Fellow this spring. Maralngurra is a founding member of Injalak Arts, a cooperative of Indigenous artists from the Aboriginal community of Gunbalanya in northern Australia which was formed in 1989 to promote Kunwinjku art and culture. As an artist and educator, he is a driving force behind the art center, which he currently co-manages. As a painter and printmaker, his work encompasses a wealth of subject matter, from ancestral narratives, plants and animals, through to imagery of early colonial encounters. Inspired by the extensive rock art of his homelands, his work is characterized by its confidence and fluidity, as well as its restless innovation. Maralngurra takes seriously his role in educating both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Kunwinjku culture. This role has seen him travel widely throughout Australia and the world. In January 2020 he undertook a residency at the University of Virginia to coincide with the launch of The Inside World: Contemporary Aboriginal Memorial Poles at The Fralin Museum of Art. His work is held in the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection, the National Museum of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria, and the British Museum.

During his virtual residency in February, Maralngurra will work closely over several sessions with students in ARTH 2882: Sex Spirits and Sorcery. This will culminate in a public webinar at 7pm EST on Friday 5 March, 2021 in which Maralngurra will discuss, in conversation with Henry Skerritt, Curator of the Indigenous Arts of Australia at Kluge-Ruhe, the long history of art at Gunbalanya and the role of Injalak Arts in strengthening Kunwinjku culture. Register here for the webinar!

We Have Words for Art

We Have Words for Art: A Symposium on Writing about Art by Indigenous Peoples

February 27, 2021

On February 27 and 28, First American Arts Magazine is hosting a free virtual two-day symposium, We Have Words for Art: A Symposium on Writing about Art by Indigenous Peoples of the Americas.

The symosium will address the challenges of and share strategies for writing about Indigenous art of the Americas. First American Art Magazine (FAAM) is hosting this symposium to share collective experiences in the field of writing about Native art from North and South America. We Have Words for Art recognizes that Indigenous people should lead the development of new protocols that honor cultural sensitivity, accuracy, and inclusion so that Indigenous communities become central to the Native art canon. 

heather ahtone (Choctaw/Chickasaw), senior curator at the First Americans Museum, who has outlined an Indigenous-centered methodology for critiquing Native art, will deliver the keynote address. Individual presentation topics include Indigenous art criticism methodology, Native arts scholarship in academia, writing exhibition text for museums, tribal affiliations in art writers, and writing about Native art for mainstream art audiences. Roundtable panelists will discuss striking a balance between writers and artists, criticism of Indigenous art, and simultaneously writing from art world insiders and the general public.

The Mellon Indigenous Arts program is proud to be a co-sponsor of the symposium, which includes the following events (times listed here are EST):

Saturday, February 27

  • 1:00–1:10 pm: Welcome and introduction
  • 1:10–2:15 pm: Keynote address: heather ahtone: “Shifting the Paradigm: A Love Story,” 65 minutes
  • 2:15–2:30 pm: Break, 15 minutes. The audience can ask questions during breaks.
  • 2:30–3:00 pm: Nancy Marie Mithlo: “Native Arts Scholarship: How-to, What and Why?,” 30 minutes
  • 3:00–3:30 pm: America Meredith: “Tribal Affiliations in Art Writing,” 30 minutes
  • 3:30–3:45 pm: Break, 15 minutes,
  • 3:45–4:45 pm: Roundtable Discussion: “Artist and Art Writer Relationships”
  • 4:45–5:15 pm: Open Forum, 30 minutes

Sunday, February 28

  • 1:00–1:30 pm: Adrienne Lalli Hills, “The Nuts and Bolts of Exhibition Text,” 30 minutes
  • 1:30–2:15 pm: Miranda Belarde Lewis, “Writing for Depth in the White Cube,” 45 minutes
  • 2:15–2:30 pm: Break, 15 minutes
  • 2:30–3:30 pm: Roundtable Discussion: “Walking the Line: Reaching Art World Insiders and the General Public,” 1 hour
  • 3:30–3:45 pm: Break, 15 minutes
  • 3:45–4:45 pm: Roundtable Discussion: “Criticism of Indigenous Art of the Americas,” 1 hour
  • 4:45–5:15 pm: Open Forum, 30 minutes
  • 5:15–5:20 pm: c:a+m writing workshop introduction

Click here to register for the symposium and for schedule details.

More about the speakers and their presentations can be found here.


(From left to right) Alex Ressel (Manager of Injalak Arts), artist Joe Guymala, artist Gabriel Maralngurra and Henry F. Skerritt (Curator, Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection) at The Inside World exhibition at The Fralin Museum of Art.

Aboriginal Art across Charlottesville featured in UVA Arts Magazine

February 4, 2021

"Kluge-Ruhe: A City-wide Exhibition", UVA Arts Magazine, Volume 13, Winter 2020:

"On March 12, 2020, as Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Henry Skerritt, Curator at the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection dashed out to pick up a copy of the New York Times. Buried among fearful news of the growing pandemic, the paper featured a lengthy article of “the growing interest in Aboriginal art” in the United States. Above the fold was a photograph of artist Joe Guymala—who had been in Charlottesville only weeks earlier—alongside a pole painted with haunting skeletal figures, a gloomy portent to the horrific stories of death sweeping the world. ... In January 2020, Kluge-Ruhe brought vibrant and important artworks by more than 100 leading Indigenous Australian artists to spaces on Grounds and across the community including The Fralin Museum of Art, the Rotunda’s Upper West Oval Room, Second Street Gallery, and New City Arts."

Read more

Image (from left to right): Alex Ressel (Manager of Injalak Arts), artist Joe Guymala, artist Gabriel Maralngurra and Henry F. Skerritt (Curator, Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection) at The Inside World exhibition at The Fralin Museum of Art.

Poet Laureate Joy Harjo to offer poetry reading for UVA community

September 4, 2020

Joy Harjo, the first Native American to be awarded the prestigious honor of Poet Laureate, will present a poetry reading for the UVA community on the evening of Monday, November 16 at 6:00PM EST. Register  here!

Joy Harjo is an internationally renowned performer and writer of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and was named the 23rd United States Poet Laureate 2019-2020.

Harjo’s nine books of poetry include An American Sunrise, Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings, How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems, and She Had Some Horses. Harjo’s memoir Crazy Brave won several awards, including the PEN USA Literary Award for Creative Non-Fiction and the American Book Award. She is the recipient of the Ruth Lilly Prize from the Poetry Foundation for Lifetime Achievement, the 2015 Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets for proven mastery in the art of poetry, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, and the United States Artist Fellowship. In 2014 she was inducted into the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame. A renowned musician, Harjo performs with her saxophone nationally and internationally, solo and with her band, the Arrow Dynamics. She has five award-winning CDs of music including the award-winning album Red Dreams, A Trail Beyond Tears and Winding Through the Milky Way, which won a Native American Music Award for Best Female Artist of the Year in 2009. She lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Read more here

The Inside World featured in New York Times

March 10, 2020

Richly Decorated Memorials Emerge From Ancient Traditions

The New York Times, March 10, 2020

A show in Virginia reflects growing interest in contemporary Aboriginal art, and indigenous works in general.

For indigenous artists all over the world, the march toward representation in museums has been slow and not at all steady. It has come in fits and starts.

In North America, Canadian institutions have generally made more sustained efforts at devoting space and resources to indigenous art than those in the United States. But that has been changing of late.

A current show at the Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville offers American viewers a chance to see works by indigenous artists from a remote part of Australia’s Northern Territory known as Arnhem Land.


Charlottesville exhibitions featured on WVTF/Radio IQ

January 23, 2020

Listen to the Radio IQ/WVTF feature by Sandy Hausman on the Australian Aboriginal art exhibitions in Charlottesville: Aboriginal Art is Center Stage in Charlottesville

Charlottesville Aboriginal art exhibitions featured in C-ville: Down Under, Up Above

January 22, 2020

Excellent coverage of Charlottesville's city-wide celebration of Aboriginal art in the C-Ville Weekly of Jan 22, 2020:

Down under, up above: A wealth of Indigenous Australian art comes to Charlottesville this winter

"This week, something extraordinary will happen in Charlottesville: Four exhibitions of contemporary Aboriginal Australian art will open in four different venues across town, bringing the total number of such exhibitions currently on view to six. And a seventh will open in mid-February."

Read more of this story here.

The Inside World: Contemporary Aboriginal Australian Memorial Poles opens Jan 24

January 10, 2020

"CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Fralin Museum of Art and the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection are partnering to present The Inside World: Contemporary Aboriginal Australian Memorial Poles.

The Inside World, on view at the Fralin Jan. 24-May 24, 2020, presents 112 memorial poles by 55 artists from remote Aboriginal communities in the tropical northern region of Australia known as Arnhem Land."

Read the full story in UVA Arts here!

Artist Talk by Cara Romero, Mellon Indigenous Arts Visiting Fellow

November 19, 2019

We are delighted to host Cara Romero as a Mellon Indigenous Arts Visiting Fellow, November 18-22, 2019. Romero is an award-winning artist who utilizes techniques learned in film, digital, fine art, and commercial photography to produce powerful visual imagery that serves both as social commentary and to bring focus on Indigenous female perspectives. She painstakingly constructs narrative scenes that use pop cultural references to visually critique common stereotypes of Native women and to tell contemporary stories of Native identity. 

Romero will give an Artist Talk, Tuesday, November 19, 6:00 PM, at Campbell Hall, room 153. The talk is free and open to the public, no reservation required. A reception will follow. Parking is available at Culbreth Parking Garage. You can visit The Fralin Museum of Art to see her work Kaa, pictured here, on view until January 2020.

Read more about Romero here

Reception at Kluge-Ruhe with Visiting Artists Barbara Moore and Sharon Adamson

November 14, 2019

Meet Visiting Artists Barbara Moore and Sharon Adamson at a reception at the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection, Thursday Nov 14, 5:30-7:30 PM

Barbara Moore and Sharon Adamson are visiting artists at Kluge-Ruhe November 4-16. Their residency coincides with an exhibition of their work, Ngayulu Nguraku Ninti | The Country I Know. The bold, large-scale paintings currently on view at Kluge-Ruhe represent the artists’ traditional homelands and are a rich and colorful expression of their relationship to it.

During the residency, Barbara Moore has been painting a large-scale mural on site at Kluge-Ruhe. The reception on Thursday officially opens her brand-new specially commissioned work.

Don’t miss the chance to see these celebrated artists alongside their amazing paintings! For more information about the artist and the exhibition, click here

Image: Barbara Moore at work on her mural. Photo courtesy Henry Skerritt.

DY Begay with her tapestry Confluence of Lavender  © Kelso Meyer 2016

D.Y. Begay, Mellon Indigenous Arts Visiting Fellow

September 19, 2019

The Mellon Indigenous Arts Initiative is delighted to host Navajo weaver D.Y. Begay as our next Indigenous Arts Visiting Fellow in October 21-24. As part of her residency, Begay will co-teach some classes at UVa and will work on the Fralin Museum of Art's collection of Native American textiles with Adriana Greci Green, Curator of Indigenous Arts of the Americas.

Begay will give a public Artist Talk (free, no reservation required) on October 22, 6:30 PM, Campbell Hall room 153 (UVa's School of Architecture). Additionally, you can visit the Fralin Museum of Art October 1-24 to see one of her works, Dah iistłó Bizaad (Weaving’s Voice), 2017, on loan from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

D.Y. Begay, a Navajo born to the Totsohni’ (Big Water) Clan and born for the Tachinii’ (Red Running into Earth) Clan, is a fourth-generation weaver. Growing up around female weavers, she was exposed to herding and shearing sheep, carding and spinning wool, harvesting plants for dyeing, and learning to weave in the traditional Navajo fashion. Begay’s tapestries encompass her interpretation of the natural beauty and descriptive colors of the Navajo reservation, reflecting on her Navajo identity and her family’s weaving tradition. This spiritual connection to the plants yields the natural colors that are transformed into evocative land formations on her loom. Her current work combines mastery of this tradition with unconventional uses of colors and design, producing experiments with non-reservation color combinations in her weavings.  

Begay is a 2018 United States Artists Fellow and is a recipient of the Native American Art Studies Association Lifetime Achievement Award (2013).  In 2018 the Museum of Northern Arizona organized Tselani/Terrain: Tapestries of D.Y. Begay, a focused retrospective of her work.  Begay’s tapestries have been exhibited in and collected by major museums, including the National Museum of the American Indian, New York City; Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, Santa Fe, NM; Kennedy Museum of Art, Athens, OH; C.N. Gorman Museum, Davis, CA; Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA; Mesa Art Center, Mesa, AZ; National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland; and the Heard Museum. Her work traveled in the Arts in Embassies program in 2006 and 2010.  Her latest work, a wintry landscape of northeastern Minnesota commissioned by the Minneapolis Institute of Art, is presently on tour in the acclaimed exhibition Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists

Image: DY Begay with her tapestry Confluence of Lavender  © Kelso Meyer 2016

Adriana Greci Green serves on Advisory Board for Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists

July 3, 2019

Adriana Greci Green, Curator of Indigenous Arts of the Americas at UVa’s Fralin Museum of Art, served on the Native Exhibition Advisory Board for Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists, a groundbreaking major exhibition that opened June 2, 2019, at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Exhibition curators Jill Ahlberg Yohe and Teri Greeves gathered the all-female board of 21 native artists and native and non-native scholars of indigenous arts from across North America to share knowledge and ideas through a collaborative and communal creative process, and to involve a wide range of indigenous voices. The Advisory Board provided input through all stages of the curatorial process.

From the Minneapolis Institute of Art web site: 

Women have long been the creative force behind Native art. Presented in close cooperation with top Native women artists and scholars, this first major exhibition of artwork by Native women honors the achievements of over 115 artists from the United States and Canada spanning over 1,000 years. Their triumphs—from pottery, textiles, and painting, to photographic portraits, to a gleaming El Camino—show astonishing innovation and technical mastery. Read more.

The exhibition has received great acclaim. Read a review in the New York Times here.

Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists will travel to the Frist Museum in Nashville September 27, 2019 – January 12, 2020, to the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C. February 21, 2020 – May 17, 2020,  and to Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa June 28, 2020 – September 20, 2020.


With Her Hands: Women’s Fiber Art from Gapuwiyak to open at Kluge-Ruhe July 18

July 3, 2019

On July 18 from 5 – 9 pm, The Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of UVA will open its new exhibition With Her Hands: Women’s Fiber Art from Gapuwiyak: The Louise Hamby Gift, curated by six undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds. The exhibition features baskets, dilly bags, mats, sculptures and necklaces selected from a gift of 100 fiber artworks recently donated to Kluge-Ruhe by anthropologist Dr. Louise Hamby.  The artworks in this significant gift—the first in an ongoing series of donations—address topics of tradition and innovation, gender roles, generational change, and relationships to place, and the Hamby gift will establish Kluge-Ruhe as a world center for the study of contemporary Aboriginal women’s fiber art.

This summer, Kluge-Ruhe is training the next generation of curators while addressing the pressing lack of diversity in American museums, as part of UVA’s broader Mellon Indigenous Arts Initiative. Six undergraduate students—Barriane Franks (Xavier University of Louisiana),  Antionette Griffin (Auburn University at Montgomery), Hannah Jeffries (University of North Carolina at Pembroke), Helen Martinez (University of Houston-Downtown), Diana Proenza (New College of Florida), and Victoria Morales Rodriguez (University of Puerto Rico- Mayaguez)—have traveled to Charlottesville for the Mellon Summer Curatorial Research Program, which is designed to train curators from backgrounds underrepresented in the museum professions. Under the supervision of Kluge-Ruhe Curator Henry F. Skerritt and two UVA graduate students in the English department, Eva Latterner and Cassie Davies, the curatorial students are learning every aspect of designing an exhibition, from writing wall labels down to choosing wall colors. 

Given that modern and contemporary art exhibitions disproportionately represent male artists (the Guerrilla Girls counted in 2012 that less than 4% of the artists in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s modern art sections were women), and that a 2015 study showed 73% of museum leadership positions are occupied by men, this exhibition is remarkably unique. With six women of color curating works by 25 Indigenous women artists, With Her Hands: Women’s Fiber Art from Gapuwiyak: The Louise Hamby Gift challenges issues of gender and representation in the museum profession.

“I view this exhibition as a chance to recognize and showcase the often-unheard voices of gifted female artists,” says curator Diana Proenza of New College of Florida.

Louise Hamby and fiber artist Lucy Malirrimurruwuy Wanapuyngu are visiting Charlottesville to advise the project and to offer public workshops in dyeing and weaving

With Her Hands: Women’s Fiber Art from Gapuwiyak: The Louise Hamby Gift, and the accompanying catalogue, will be launched on Thursday, July 18 at Kluge-Ruhe’s Night at the Museum event from 5-9pm. The curatorial students will present short “flat-chat” tours of key works in the exhibition. The event will also feature live original music by The Sally Rose Band, food trucks, and local beer and wine. Admission is $5 for non-members and free for museum members. The event is family-friendly and no reservations are needed. For more information about the museum and this event, visit or call 434-244-0234.

Weaving stories of family and hope

January 30, 2019

Artist Lily Hope shares the power of story and tradition through Native American weaving

By Caitlin Woodford | 01/30/2019

Storytelling is an aspect of culture that is tied into nearly every form of contemporary media. Through books, movies, TV shows and everything in between, a vast array of stories are constantly being fed into the world. However, the power of stories is not limited to merely these mediums. In a studio in Juneau, Alaska, a different method of storytelling is taking place — one that has been passed down for generations through immensely talented indigenous artists. Read more.


Voices coming through: The Fralin's 'Reflections' connects artists across centuries

November 7, 2018

Erin O'Hare, Cville Weekly. With an open palm, Teri Greeves gestures to a handful of small, intricately beaded Kiowa Indian cradleboards lined up inside a glass display case.

Kiowa Indians are known for their abstract beadwork motifs, she tells the small crowd that’s gathered to hear her speak at The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia. And while these cradleboards were made in the 19th century, likely for dolls, they’re not unlike the one that swaddled Greeves, a member of the Kiowa Indian Tribe of Oklahoma, when she was a newborn on Wyoming’s Wind River Indian Reservation in the 1970s. 

“I came home in a fully beaded cradleboard. From the moment I was born, I was encased in glass beads,” she says. Her Italian father made the wooden spines to anchor and support the swaddling sack, and he, together with Greeves’ Kiowa and Comanche mother, designed the beadwork. A Shoshone Indian woman, a mother figure to Greeves’ mother, beaded the design to the sack. It likely required hundreds of hours of work, says Greeves, and it makes her feel extraordinarily loved. Continue reading...



How UVA has Become a Global Center for Indigenous Art

February 20, 2018

The Mellon Indigenous Arts Initiative, the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection, and the "Oceans of Exchange" symposium were recently featured in UVA Today. Find out "How UVA Has Become a Global Center for Indigenous Art." 

Pamunkey Frontlet

17th Century Frontlet Repatriated to Pamunkey Tribe

January 2, 2018

By Jack Jacobs, Tidewater Review

A gift given in the name of peace hundreds of years ago has found its way back home.

Preservation Virginia repatriated a 17th-century frontlet back to the Pamunkey Tribe, which was originally gifted by King Charles II of England to Pamunkey Queen Cockacoeske, in a ceremony at the preservation group’s Richmond office.

Continue reading here:


Monumental Meanings Symposium addresses local statues

November 21, 2017

CBS 19 News

"The University of Virginia hosted a symposium Tuesday night (November 14, 2017) to discuss the portrayal of indigenous people in Charlottesville statues.

Monumental Meanings: Indigenous Perspectives on Monuments and Memorials in Charlottesville and Beyond brought scholars and indigenous people together to discuss the ways native peoples are represented in statues."

Read the full article and watch the accompanying video here:


Shelly Niro's "Indian Summer" at You Me Gallery in Hamilton, Ontario

Shelly Niro's "Indian Summer" at You Me Gallery in Hamilton, Ontario

November 9, 2017

Shelley Niro: Indian Summer will be on view at You Me Gallery in Hamilton, Ontario from November 10-December 3, 2017. The exhibition features several new works and large paintings from her touring exhibition "Indian Summer." Shelley Niro recently visited the University of Virginia as a Fellow of the Mellon Indigenous Arts Initaitive. She is the winner of the 2017 ScotiaBank Photography Award and Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts. You Me Gallery is open Wednesday-Sunday from 12-5pm and is located at 330 James St. North, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. 


Pocahontas Reframed: Native American Storytellers Film Festival

November 6, 2017

The Pocahontas Reframed Film Festival aims to foster greater awareness of and exposure to indigenous languages, cultures and societies by featuring film and live performances celebrating Native American stories and storytellers.

Read the full article by Lindley Estes here:

Pocahontas Reframed: Native American Storytellers Film Festival will be held on November 17-19 at The Byrd Theater. Admission is free, but seating is limited. To register and see the full event schedule, visit


Australian Embassy Celebrates Aboriginal Artists from Remote Island of Milingimbi

October 18, 2017

Henry Skerritt, Curator of Indigenous Arts of Australia at Kluge-Ruhe, was quoted in The Washington Diplomat in an article about the current exhibition of Indigenous art at the Embassy of Australia in Washington, D.C. The exhibition features works by Raymond Bulambula and his wife*, recent Mellon Indigenous Arts Visiting Fellows at UVA. 

Read the Washington Diplomat article: Australian Embassy Celebrates Aboriginal Artists from Remote Island of Milingimbi

Check out the exhibition artwork here:

*Note: Raymond Bulambula’s wife passed away several months after these events and she is referred to here as ‘his wife’ in accordance with cultural protocols that prohibit the name or image of a recently deceased person from being spoken, written or presented.

Indigenous People Day

Charlottesville Celebrates First Indigenous Peoples Day

October 9, 2017

Monday, October 9, 2017 is Charlottesville's first Indigenous Peoples Day.

Check out the article below from Charlottesville Tomorrow which features Dr. Karenne Wood (Monacan), director of Virginia Indian Programs at Virginia Foundation for the Humanities:

Dr. Wood is also featured in this video story from Newsplex:

Shelley Niro

Shelley Niro: The way of the subtle warrior

September 12, 2017

Learn about the work and career of Mohawk artist and filmmaker Shelley Niro in "Shelley Niro: The way of the subtle warrior," an article by Murray Whyte for the Toronto Star. Niro will be in residence at the University of Virginia from September 20-October 5 as a Visiting Fellow of the Mellon Indigenous Arts Initiative.

Full article:

Ghost Nets

Australia: Defending the Ocean

August 14, 2017

On Friday, August 25, the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection will hold a lecture and reception to open an exhibition titled Australia: Defending the Ocean at the Charles L. Brown Science and Engineering Library.

The exhibition, which has been installed in the Library’s reading room, highlights the ecological disaster created by abandoned and discarded fishing nets off the coast of northeastern Australia. These “ghost nets” are made of strong plastic designed to withstand the harsh ocean environment. A by-product of the commercial fishing industry, ghost nets drift on the ocean currents, trapping a rich array of marine life including such endangered species as sea turtles, sharks, rays and sawfish among many others. Eventually they drift to the ocean floor, suffocating marine animals and coral reefs alike and creating long term damage to the marine environment. It is estimated that over 640,000 tons of fishing equipment is left in the oceans each year.

Indigenous Australians were among the first to notice the devastating effects of ghost nets. For thousands of years, Indigenous people have retained and passed down extensive knowledge of marine life, a result of their longstanding stewardship of the environment in which they live. In reaction to the increasing threat posed by debris in the ocean, Aboriginal artists from Pormpuraaw, Queensland, have begun harvesting ghost nets and turning them into delightful sculptures of marine life. Their artworks raise awareness about the environmental threat of litter in the ocean.

Also included in the exhibition are three prints and an aluminum sculpture of a stingray by Brian Robinson (Maluyliga, Wuthathi, Malaysia Dayak). The sculpture, Ocean Guardian, represents the creation story of the Great Barrier Reef and is covered in mineral, the distinctive graphic patterns of Torres Strait art. In his linocut prints, Robinson draws on his Torres Strait Islander heritage and traditional art historical and pop culture imagery.

On Friday, August 25 at 4 pm professor Stephen Macko from UVA’s Department of Environmental Sciences and Kluge-Ruhe director Margo Smith will discuss the exhibition from two different perspectives. The lecture will be followed by a Final Fridays reception with refreshments concluding at 7 pm. Brown Library is located in Clark Hall, 291 McCormick Road, on UVA’s central Grounds.

Australia: Defending the Ocean was first exhibited at the United Nations during The Ocean Conference in June 2017. Kluge-Ruhe wishes to thank the artists of Pormpuraaw Art and Culture Center and the exhibition organizers Stéphane Jacob of Arts d’Australie, Paris, Suzanne O’Connell of Suzanne O’Connell Gallery, Brisbane, and John Stafford of Onespace Gallery, Brisbane, who represents Brian Robinson.

Karenne Wood

WINA Interview with Karenne Wood

July 17, 2017

On Thursday, July 13, Karenne Wood, director of the Virginia Indian Program at Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, spoke with local Charlottesville radio station WINA about the Virginia Indian Tribute and her work at VFH. She also mentioned upcoming visiting fellows Shelley Niro and ElizaBeth Hill, who will be in residence at the University of Virginia this Fall. Use the link below to hear the full interview.