Major publication in Australian art

Spinifex book cover

Professor John Carty’s latest book has been released. Sun and Shadow: art of the Spinifex People is the result of over a decade working with the Spinifex people in the Great Victoria Desert in WA, and is a collaboration with the Spinifex Arts Project. Research was funded by the ARC. 

The Spinifex people have been living on their ancestral homelands in the Great Victoria Desert in Western Australia since time immemorial. This continuous narrative was interrupted momentously by the Maralinga atomic testing in the mid 20th Century. But after returning to their homelands, Spinifex people began to fight for greater recognition. Painting made their story visible. 

Over the past 25 years they have developed unique modes of painting to express their communal identity and history. Born of the need to present evidence in Native Title contexts, Spinifex painting has a unique political history and visual tradition that marks it out as a singular art history in Australia – but one that also sheds light on the broader histories of Aboriginal art.

The history of the Spinifex people and their unique contribution to Australian art history remains largely unheralded. Featuring stunning reproductions of significant paintings, and insightful essays by experts and friends of the artists, this publication positions the Spinifex people as major figures in the Australian historical and art-historical landscape. More information.

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