27 November, 2005

aboriginal art ripoff? - reveiwed

what's wrong with this image?

Oh, I know, its the Australian aboriginal artist called Johan Helder.... mmmm

This was what I posted last week.

So, having my curiosity aroused, I took the opportunity to visit the gallery. Its on Sarphatistraat, next door to the Albert Hein supermarket and around the corner from an Amsterdam uni campus. Its a community run space where artists are required to make a portfolio submission to board. The gallery is then rented for monthly periods. This isnt Amsterdam's "Paddington". The gallery stable was what you would expect, student and emerging work.

In regards to Johan Helder's work, it appeared to have been directly copied from reproductions of aboriginal art. I recognised the styles of various different artists. It looked like bad copies of pretty patterns. No knowledge or understanding of technique or culture. The other paintings, acrylic abstracts, were equally poor.

What was really sad about this is that the gallery minders were very friendly and helpful and gave me one of the warmest welcomes I have received in an Amsterdam gallery. It looks like a good community space. Its just a pity that they are so uninformed about art and culture from australia and aboriginal copyright.

Here is the website, have a look at the opening photos, they give a good impression of what sort of space this is and high fashion amongst the dutch arty community....

What is our Australia Council doing to promote Australian art overseas?

No comments: