Meeting Places: Mangkaja and Creative Growth

October 4–November 15, 2019

Creative Growth is pleased to announce Meeting Places: Mangkaja and Creative Growth, a groundbreaking exhibition that pairs Aboriginal artists from Western Australia alongside Creative Growth artists with disabilities. The exhibition is one of the first of its kind in the world and highlights the aesthetic and cultural connections between divergent populations of artists whose work is deeply connected to community and to non-academic artistic traditions.

The exhibition raises questions about the innate human need to create, and the visual language of community. Is there a visual lingua franca that speaks to us as human beings despite cultural and geographic separation? Within the exhibition, stylistic intersections are often striking. Works by Donald Mitchell (Creative Growth) and Daisy Japulija (Mangkaja) share an interest in an abstract expression of self and space; patterned works by Barry Regan (Creative Growth) and Sonia Kurarra (Mangkaja) are related by obsessive, repetitive stylistic mannerisms; and John Prince Siddon (Mangkaja) and John Martin (Creative Growth) demonstrate a fascination with the animals and objects that surround them, crafting their observations into fantastic personalized environments. Walmajarri sisters Sonia Kurarra and Daisy Japulija, who reside at a facility for palliative, disability, and dementia care that is supported by Mangkaja, are both represented in the exhibition. Their work shares affinities with Creative Growth artists Ruth Stafford and Nicole Storm, who each use decisive, repetitive lines as signifiers in their work.

“It’s exciting to welcome the Aboriginal artists from Mangkaja to Oakland and to exhibit their work alongside the work of Creative Growth artists” says di Maria.  “Every artist in the exhibition has a unique voice that responds to their respective artistic tradition and culture and serves as a powerful aesthetic vehicle to engage the viewer. The stylistic similarities are notable and express the inherent human need to place marks on paper, to record a person’s existence and view of the world.“

A catalog with an essay by noted Aboriginal expert Randall Morris from Cavin-Morris Gallery, New York will accompany the exhibition. The exhibition will also take form again in New York in January 2020 at the Outsider Art Fair, where the work will be presented alongside other international artists whose work is non-academic in nature.

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