Authorship of APY Lands artwork subject to independent review ahead of national exhibition – ABC News

Authorship of APY Lands artwork subject to independent review ahead of national exhibition - ABC News

The National Gallery of Australia (NGA) has launched an independent review into the origins of the First Nations artwork in its upcoming major exhibition.

It plans to “examine the provenance and creation of the works in the exhibition, to assess provenance authorship and the extent of the ‘hand of assistance'”.

‘Ngura Pulka – Epic Country’ has been billed by the Canberra gallery as “one of the largest and most significant” First Nations art projects.

It will showcase works from the APY Art Centre Collective, located on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in South Australia’s Far North, which is a group of 10 Indigenous-owned and governed art centres.

But the NGA said it was concerned by media reports around the authorship of the works.

“The role of the National Gallery is to support artists, and Ngura Pulka is an important exhibition to provide artists from this dynamic art movement coming out of the desert with an opportunity to showcase their works on a national stage,” the NGA said.

The APY Art Centre Collective has defended its works.

“We strenuously deny the over-arching narrative that APY ACC art and any artists are compromised. To the contrary,” it said.

“We believe our professional studios meet highest standards of integrity and professionalism.”

The review follows reporting by News Corp broadsheet The Australian that questioned whether studio assistants had an outsized role in the creation of Indigenous artwork.

“We welcome the independent review and will fully and openly participate,” APY Art Centre Collective said.

“It is important to all of our artists that there is no question as to the integrity of our process of the creation of our art.”

 Sally Scales will recuse herself from the review. ()

Ngura Pulka – Epic Country is due to open on June 3, and run until October 8, at the NGA.

National Gallery Council member and APY Art Centre Collective member Sally Scales will recuse herself from the review.

Both the NGA and APY Art Centre Collective have been contacted by the ABC for comment.


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