Aboriginal art on contact, conflict and survival exhibited in Samoa

PHOTO: One of the Aboriginal paintings on exhibition in Samoa for the next two months

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – FRIDAY 24 AUGUST 2018: An exhibition of Australia’s Aboriginal arts that opened last night, tells the stories of contact, conflict and survival, of exodus and return, of family culture and country.

Hosted by the Australian High Commissioner, HE Sara Moriaty, local artists Papali’i Momoe von Reiche and

Galumalemana Steve Percival hailed the works and admired the foresight of the Aboriginal people and relationship with their land and environment.

“It is wonderful to have an exhibition like this here to experience indigenous Australian paintings which always fascinate me, because they are still exploring their own indigenous self and identity,” said Papali’i.

She said despite living in the modern Australia today, their arts and paintings reflect their culture,   environment and their story of survival.

Galumalemana said if one looks closely at these paintings, it tells of a tremendous history and foresight into their land and the contact that people have with the environment.

The colour of paintings represent colours of the desert, the sunset and sunrise and one can be mesmerized and could be absorbed into this environment.

“What is interesting is that most of their artwork and paintings are abstract, that the true meaning of the painting is hidden and is not something you can see or interpret immediately,” said Galumalemana.

Local artist Papalii Momoe von Reiche (third from left) with other guests at last nights opening

“It is an enriching experience to see art from different people and culture, because it brings home the fact that the family of men, all human being and whatever colour, all have similar ways of looking into the environment, interpreting our world and living in harmony. It is reinforcing our brotherhood,” said Galumalemana.

Over 100 years ago, Aboriginal land was opened up to establish the Canning Stock Route to graze cattle as part of the pastoral industry, but it crossed a lot of indigenous community land.

The exhibition according to the Australian High Commissioner was very successful in Australia, and it tells the story of the indigenous people and how they felt about their lands being traversed.

“It tells about the clash of cultures at that time through their own voices and art,” she said.

Moriaty said the Canning Stock Route is the longest historic stock route in the world and its establishment impacted on the cultural and social lives of more than 15 aboriginal language groups, and today the aboriginal history of the track is recorded through the artistic tradition and is increasingly being recognized.

“It is a story of contact, conflict and survival, of exodus and return, and above all, it’s a story of family culture and country,” said Sara.

The exhibition will be opened to the public on Monday next week for two months at the Samoa Museum at Malifa.

Justice Mata Tuatagaloa (second from right), New Zealand Acting High Commissioner Nick and Mrs Hurley and staff of the Australian High Commission