Ancestral Modern: Australian Aboriginal Art from the Kaplan & Levi Collection features contemporary painting and sculpture by Australian Aboriginal artists. Curated by Pamela McClusky, Curator of African and Oceanic Art at the Seattle Art Museum, the exhibition celebrates the renaissance that has occurred since the 1970s within the millennia-old traditions of indigenous Australian art.
Aboriginal people gained increased power and visibility in the late 1960s, following decades of grassroots activism. Since then, many artists have translated motifs from traditional art forms, such as rock and body painting, to media that can be more easily shared with viewers around the world. Their sculptures, large, colorful canvases, and intricately patterned bark strips and hollow logs bear symbols that communicate beliefs and histories, laws and rituals, and a profound connection to the land.