The latest exhibition at the Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts, VISION OF A PALAWA showcases contemporary artworks by Tasmanian Aboriginal artist Rodney Gardner, and the newly uncovered original drawings of 19th century French artist Nicolas-Martin Petit.
Image credits: Top image: Rodney Gardner The Avenue, Launceston (detail) Watercolour on paper, 2021
L-R: Rodney Gardner Self portrait Pencil on paper, 2021
Nicolas-Martin Petit (1777-1804) [Portrait of a man in profile, head and partial shoulders], 1802 ALMFA, FA1376
“Rodney Gardner has an intimate knowledge of his Aboriginal family and community and an earnest desire to learn more about his Old People. As one of the few outstanding Pakana artists working today he has made his mark in so very many ways. Our community has been awestruck at the quality of his impressionist sketches around Launceston.” Heather Sculthorpe, CEO, Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre
“I have been invited to create a body of work in response to the Allport gallery’s Baudin voyage collection. This exhibition is a contemporary Aboriginal artist’s response to portraits of ancestors created by non-Aboriginal persons as an important part of Lutruwita’s/Tasmania’s history.” Gardner, Palawa artist, Launceston
“For two centuries the dominant narrative around the Baudin voyage and its published engravings has been through European eyes. For the first time these original drawings have been observed, admired and critiqued by the community they depict. We extend our gratitude to those who have contributed their voices.” Caitlin Sutton, Curator, Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts, Libraries Tasmania
“These sketches are very small windows of the past and in that a connection to ancestral deep time that is now lost but never forgotten. These sketches should be the trigger that begins truth telling, the truths that are yet to be told in their fullest manner. The truths that need to be embodied deep in the modern colonial consciousness.” Dean Greeno, Trawlwoolway Pakana man, Associate Lecturer at Riawunna, Associate Researcher, CMS Centre of Marine Socioecology & retired aircraft maintenance engineer