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AAMU collection to go to National Museum of World Cultures
The collection of the AAMU will remain in the Netherlands. The entire collection will be included in the collection of the National Museum of World Cultures (Tropenmuseum, Afrika Museum and Museum Volkenkunde). The museums reached an agreement after the AAMU’s announcement that it would close after 15 June 2017.

Unique collection preserved
The basis of the AAMU’s unique collection was a private collection which was donated to the museum. Over the past years, the collection has been enriched through purchases and donations. Curator Dr Georges Petitjean acquired works by artists including Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Rover Thomas and Paddy Bedford, all internationally renowned artists. The collection includes contemporary works from the major art regions of Australia. It consists of over 800 pieces, ranging from paintings on canvas from the central desert regions to bark paintings from Arnhem Land and sculptures from various areas. The collection also includes photographs and video art by urban artists.

Aboriginal art in the Netherlands
The AAMU was opened in the Utrecht Museum District in March 2001. It was a private initiative launched by passionate collectors. The Board of the AAMU is pleased that the extensive collection will be retained for the Netherlands after the museum closes. “The closure of the AAMU is a huge cultural loss for Utrecht, the Netherlands and even for Europe,” said President of the Board Prof. P.R. Bär. “We were the only museum outside Australia with such a well-balanced collection of Aboriginal art. It is good that the collection, in its entirety, will remain in the Netherlands, and I hope the art works will be exhibited as often as possible.”

New home for Aboriginal art
The collection managed by the National Museum of World Cultures includes a significant collection from this cultural region, with various Aboriginal paintings and objects. Stijn Schoonderwoerd, General Director of the National Museum of World Cultures, said about this acquisition: “We are very proud and happy that the most important collection of Aboriginal art outside Australia is being entrusted to our care. This means we can immediately extrapolate the historical line from the national Australia collection we manage all the way to the present time. As a result, the national collection will be unique in the world outside Australia.”

AAMU Museum of contemporary Aboriginal art
Over the past sixteen years, the AAMU has presented more than thirty exhibitions. Each time different facets of Aboriginal art were highlighted, such as the Dreamtime, storytelling and art on wooden objects, as well as solo exhibitions of work by internationally renowned artists such as Brook Andrew and Gordon Bennett. One of the AAMU priority objectives was to present contemporary Aboriginal art in conjunction with art from other parts of the world. The museum also published several exhibition catalogues and an extensive museum catalogue. In 2016, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima opened the successful exhibition Mapping Australia. Until 15 June 2017, the final exhibition Tracking Memories will be shown.

Museum about people
In 2014, the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam, the Afrika Museum in Berg en Dal and Museum Volkenkunde in Leiden merged to form the National Museum of World Cultures. The museum is home to a collection of over 350,000 objects from all over the world. Recently, important parts of the collection of the former Museum Nusantara were also entrusted to the National Museum. In the permanent display and changing exhibitions, objects are shown which each tell a human story – stories about universal themes such as mourning, celebrating, decorating, praying or fighting. They make the viewer curious about the huge cultural diversity the world has to offer. Apart from the differences, we are the same – human.

Posted in: Collections

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