The BP exhibition Indigenous Australia enduring civilisation

The BP exhibition Indigenous Australia enduring civilisation
Author/editor: Dr Maria Nugent
Publisher: The British Museum
Year published: 2015
School/Centre: School of History

Abstract

An extraordinary selection of objects showcases the beauty and knowledge embodied in works of art and everyday life from Indigenous Australia.

Published to accompany the first major UK exhibition on Indigenous Australia, this book uses objects from the extraordinary collection of the British Museum to explore the unique and ongoing relationship that Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islandres have to place and country.  Indigenous Australian society today is a product of a continuing culture dating back over 60,000 years reflecting a complex spiritual relationship with the natural world and an intimate knowledge of diverse environments that are carefully managed.

This groundbreaking new publication also explores the profound impact and legacy of colonialism, the nature of collecting and the changing meaning of objects now in the collection of the British Museum.  The encounters between Indigenous peoples and colonists were complex and nuanced, and contemporary Australian society is still dealing with this legacy, trying to transform or reconcile different world views.

Through contributions from key experts and contemporary artistic responses by Indigenous Australians the ongoing importance of the objects to people today is revealed.  This richly illustrated book challenges pre-existing ideas about Indigenous Australian culture and highlights its beauty, diversity and vitality.

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