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Breasts, Bodies, Canvas combines an appreciation of Aboriginal art with contemporary theoretical concerns. On one level it is a beautifully illustrated book about contemporary Aboriginal art from the Central Desert of Australia, which has become immensely popular in the world's art markets. At the same time the book draws on various theoretical...
Breasts, Bodies, Canvas combines an appreciation of Aboriginal art with contemporary theoretical concerns. On one level it is a beautifully illustrated book about contemporary Aboriginal art from the Central Desert of Australia, which has become immensely popular in the world's art markets. At the same time the book draws on various theoretical considerations as it attempts to define, explain, and understand this art. The book considers the historical rise of Aboriginal women artists, including Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Kathleen Petyarre, and Dorothy Napangardi, and looks in detail at the tactile and sensory activities involved in the practice of printing. The book contains a large number of photographs from the author's fieldwork with Warlpiri Aboriginal communities in Central Australia for over two decades, including stills of the artists, works in production, ritual objects, and ceremonies. Thirty full-page reproductions of acrylic paintings allow their force and effect to transfer to the reading audience, so that the potency the book discusses is actually experienced, not just described. Breasts, Bodies, Canvas represents a new genre in Aboriginal art books as it spans the separation between anthropology, with its emphasis on ethnographic meaning and context, and art theory. The work brings these two fields together and enlivens ethnography with its comparative scope of art scholarship and, simultaneously, brings important ethnographic background to more formal analyses of specific paintings.
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