The Berndt Museum of Anthropology holds a number of exhibitions every year.

The Museum uses the objects in its collections and recent research to challenge and expand ideas about the collections. It also aims to stimulate new understanding and to nurture greater appreciation of Aboriginal art and cultural exchange to a wide range of audiences and disciplines.

Image: Bob Balirrbalirr Dirdi, Kuwinjku & Kuninjku. Ochres on bark. RM & CH Berndt Collection, Berndt Museum [Acc. No. 788] 

2019 Exhibitions

Out of the boxes and into the Desert. 13 July – 7 December 2019

Out of the boxes and into the Desert explores the Berndt Museum of Anthropology’s collection of paintings from the Central Desert. Following on from a recent storage project, the Berndt Museum seeks to provide access to works of art that have been inaccessible for decades. These works include stories of ancestral beings that travelled across country, through waterholes and into the stars.

Image: Yala Yala Gibbs Tjungurrayi (1924-1998), Pintupi language. Possum Dreaming at Tutanya 1988. Acrylic paint on canvas, 182 x 242.5 cm. Berndt Museum of Anthropology Collection [1989/0029] © estate of the artist licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency Ltd

Carrolup Revisited: A Journey through the South West of Western Australia. 9 February – 29 June 2019
Carrolup Revisited: A Journey through the South West of Western Australia celebrates the artists well-known for their role in the Carrolup School of Art.

Today, this small group of children are remembered for their distinctive representational drawings in pastel. As members of the Stolen Generations, removed from their families and relocated to the Carrolup Native Settlement without warning, they lived in isolation from the world.

These small works on paper, speak to their strength and willingness to survive, and is a reminder of the fortitude of Aboriginal people in the harshest of circumstances to create and imagine new worlds.

Image: Cliff Ryder, Carrolup, Kangaroos on Road (detail), 1948, pastel on paper, 25 x 18 cm. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by E.S. Phillips and Dr G. Phillips, [1992/0101] © family of the artist.

2018 Exhibitions

In Light of Shadows. 10 February — 7 July
Notions of light and shadow occupy a space within different socio-cultural imaginings and understandings of particular realities – including ideas of knowledge, mortality, morality, power and memory.

The human response to light and shadow - both as metaphor and as practice – is intertwined with different perceptions of luminosity (or lack thereof) that reveal and conceal various experiences of the world. This exhibition explores cross-cultural understandings and material expressions to present light and shadow as existing in harmony with one anotherrather than in opposition.

Focusing on the Berndt Museum of Anthropology’s Asian Collection, In Light of Shadows encourages audiences to question the meaning of light and/or darkness in relation to other cultures and within themselves.

Kalighat, Hari-Hara (detail), 1880-1890, Calcutta, India, watercolour and silver pigment on paper. RM & CH Berndt Estate, Berndt Museum [08735]

An interview with Siti Sarah Ridhuan, the curator of the In Light of Shadows exhibition
Stockyards and Saddles: A story of Gibb River Station. 21 July — 8 December
Stockyards and Saddles: A Story of Gibb River Station explores the lives of those living and working on the remote cattle station of Gibb River in the East Kimberley region from the early 1900s until the 1990s.

The importance of photographs as historical memorabilia often goes beyond the people represented in the images to depict a period in our country’s history. As the last generation of cattlemen recall distant memories of dusty stockyards, saddle sheds, wet seasons, and those who passed before them, this exhibition celebrates their lives through the photographic image. Presented by the Berndt Museum of Anthropology, with photographs by Colin Russ, Andreas Lommel and others.

Bull Catching, Colin Russ Collection, c. 1980s

2017 Exhibitions

Milingimbi: A Living Culture: 28 July – 16 December
The Berndt Museum of Anthropology along with the Milingimbi Aboriginal Art and Cultural Centre and the Janet Holmes a Court Collection present a selection of works from Milingimbi Island in north-east Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. The exhibition was a response to a Makarraṯa (a Yolngu word describing a process of conflict resolution, peacemaking and justice) held on the island in late 2016, which linked a wide range of collections from around the world with the community. The barks and Larrakitj (decorated hollow logs) represent a small sample of works that carry strong links to people past and present, and help to celebrate the value of living culture today.
Works of Art from Warburton: 11 February - 1 July
The Berndt Museum of Anthropology and Warburton Arts Project bring to Perth a selection of works from the Ngaanyatjarra community's own collection. Mostly consisting of breath-taking acrylic paintings on canvas, these works highlight the importance of the visual arts in challenging our ability to see and become aware of the shifts and continuities in culture, knowledge, identity and place.

2016 exhibitions

Saltwater Mapping: 8 October - 10 December

Saltwater Mapping responded to the Dirk Hartog Celebrations by looking at the way in which humanity has mapped the Western Australian coastline for thousands of years. It was presented in association with Nagula Jarndu, Yamaji Arts, Kerry Stokes Collection, Dalia Pigram, Joe Mallard, Kim Akerman, Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation, Elaine Wiggin, State Library of Western Australia and a number of private collections.

Mowaljarlai: Visions and Voice, a Legacy of a Bush Professor: 23 April - 17 September

This exhibition of archives and research looked at the life and times of David Mowaljarlai, an elder from the Kimberley, in association with Mowanjum Aboriginal Art & Culture Centre.

Interwoven: 18 February - 9 April

Through the intertwining of fibre, feather, paper, string, seed and other materials, Interwoven brought to life a series of items created by culturally distinctive makers from Aboriginal Australia, Papua New Guinea and throughout Asia – from our collections.

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