In Search of Aboriginal Art in Sydney’s MCA


Our quest to learn more about indigenous art, in particular, Aboriginal paintings, began in Melbourne. We received a lot of information there from the curators of the three galleries we visited most often. We also learned a lot from indigenous docents at the Australia Museum. For example, heretofore, the word ‘ochre’ meant an orangey-brown color to me, as in raw sienna or burnt umber, which I most strongly associated with the color of roof tiles in the Mediterranian region. In Melbourne, I was taught that white ochre is the most important clay for indigenous uses in the Northern Territories and the Tiwi Islands. White ochre mixed with kangaroo blood – a truly native paste! To paraphrase Ms. Stein, ochre isn’t ochre isn’t ochre isn’t ochre.

To get further input here in Sydney, we made our way to the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia in The Rocks, and, being lazy, we used public transportation to Circular Quay, rather than hike the distance. While waiting for the train, we encountered a number of entertaining posters along the track of the underground station.

On the way to the museum, we saw this interesting integration of the old into the new,


while the MCA, offered a multitude of images, both indigenous and migrant.


As you no doubt noticed, I was more preoccupied with reflections on the nicely polished floor [a big thumbs up to the housekeeping crew!] than the art itself. I’ve always been a bit snobbish about contemporary art and its apparently inherent need for elaborate explanations by curators and other experts. In the Monument #28 installation above, I liked the lost bicycle reflection best – and that is actually a different, completely unrelated installation.

Editing my pictures from our museum visit, a couldn’t help myself. Thus, I created my own contribution to the museum space and I hope you can laugh with me, despite the indubitably huge value and the importance of the serious works of art hung in the museum.

Cruise Vortex Halted, CMKL 2017, not cataloged
Crushed Elevator Inverted, CMKL 2017, not cataloged

And speaking of housekeeping, It’s an ongoing chore, isn’t it? Even during a posh cruise.

Rapunzel on acid?
Rise of the stick people?

What can I say, contemporary art and its convoluted interpretations get me all confused? Better to go home and eat crow or currawong ……..


Gute Nacht, Jakob!


Strepera graculina, Artamidae, Pied Currawong


2 thoughts on “In Search of Aboriginal Art in Sydney’s MCA

  1. Your photos are a heck of a lot more artistic then some of the contemporary art shown in this gallery. Those large canvases of nothing but different colors and the convoluted made up description of what the artist was trying to achieve is, well, hooey!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s