Margo Neale launches “Rattling Spears – A History of Indigenous Australian Art”

This Saturday 20 August at 3pm Margo Neale will launch Professor Ian McLean’s latest book

Rattling Spears – A History of Indigenous Australian ArtRattlign spears large

Large, bold and colourful, Indigenous Australian art has impressed itself on the contemporary imagination. But it is controversial, dividing the stakeholders from those who smell a scam. Whether the artists are victims or victors, there is no denying their impact in the media and on the art world and collectors worldwide. How did it become the most successful Indigenous art in the world? How did its artists escape the ethnographic and souvenir markets to become players in an art world from which they had been barred? Superbly illustrated, this full historical account makes you questioneverything you were taught about modern and contemporary art.

‘Rattling Spears: A History of Indigenous Australian Art is the first comprehensive art historical account of this fascinating topic. It tells a clear and compelling story of the complex development of Indigenous art in Australia, from the first encounters between Indigenous and European explorers in the later eighteenth century right up to the present, as this “contact art” manifests itself as one of the major movements within contemporary world art.’ – Terry Smith, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture, University of Pittsburgh


Ian McLean is Senior Research Professor of Contemporary Art at theUniversity of Wollongong and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Western Australia. His previous books include Double Desire:Transculturation and Indigenous Art (2014), How Aborigines Invented the Idea of Contemporary Art (2011) and White Aborigines: Identity Politics in Australian Art (2009).

Margo + nelson

Margo Neale is a Senior Research Fellow, Senior Curator and Principal Indigenous Advisor to the Director at the National Museum of Australia. Margo is also an Adjunct Professor in the history program at the Australian National University’s Australian Centre for Indigenous History. In this role Margo sits on post-graduate supervisory panels, gives seminars and participates in workshops, and engages in documentaries and study tours for international visiting academics.Margo is regularly called upon by the electronic and print media as an expert commentator on Indigenous art, culture and history, particularly in relation to her experience as a curator of major exhibitions across museums and galleries.

Published by Reaktion Books and distributed by Newsouthbooks.

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Updated:  16 August 2016/ Responsible Officer:  DHG Director/ Page Contact:  Drill Hall Gallery