25 April 2015 - 10 January 2016: The power of wood

This exhibition is all about art works made of wood. The best-known wooden objects from Australian Indigenous culture most likely are the didgeridoo and the boomerang. Wood is an essential material of the land and there is a long tradition of making wooden art objects. Among the works exhibited are three new bark paintings recently acquired by the AAMU.

Pukumani poles, mimih and yawkyawk

The power of wood shows a wide diversity of wooden art works from the museum's collection, ranging from the Pukumani poles, originally used in burial ceremonies, to a large selection of paintings on the bark of eucalyptus trees. These paintings often depict ancestral beings. Other sculptures and bark paintings show mimih spiritis and yawkyawk - mermaid-like creatures. Nearly all the works in The power of wood are from Arnhem Land and Central Australia.

Law Poles

The Law Poles, one of the collection's finest works, return in this exhibition. They were given to the museum and the Dutch people as a gesture of reconciliation in view of the first encounters between the Dutch and the Aboriginal population in 1606.

An innovator in art: John Mawurndjul

Several works by John Mawurndjul (1952) are on display in The power of wood. He is regarded as one of Australia's most important and innovative artists. Even though he works with traditional materials, he has brought drastic innovations to painting on bark and wooden objects. A retrospective of his work was shown in Basel and Hannover, and a grand ceiling piece in Musée du Quai Branly in Paris was based on one of his works.

The power of wood is supported by Elise Mathilde Fund and the Pacific Fund managed by Prins Bernhard Cultuur Fund.