- MOCRA Past Exhibitions
- Thresholds: Part Two
- Thresholds: Part One
- Jordan Eagles: BLOOD / SPIRIT
- Patrick Graham: Thirty Years
- A Tribute to Frederick J. Brown
- Archie Granot: The Papercut Haggadah
- Adrian Kellard: The Learned Art of Compassion
- James Rosen: The Artist and the Capable Observer
- Good Friday: The Suffering Christ in Contemporary Art
- Michael Byron: Cosmic Tears
- MOCRA at Fifteen: Good Friday
- MOCRA at Fifteen: Pursuit of the Spirit
- Miao Xiaochun: The Last Judgment in Cyberspace
- The Celluloid Bible
- Oskar Fischinger: Movement and Spirit
- Gorky: The Early Years, 1927-1937
- DoDo Jin Ming: Land and Sea
- Junko Chodos: The Breath of Consciousness
- Daniel Ramirez: Twenty Contemplations on the Infant Jesus
- Radiant Forms in Contemporary Sacred Architecture
- Rito, Espejo y Ojo / Ritual, Mirror and Eye
- Tobi Kahn: Avoda
- Tony Hooker: The Greater Good
- Andy Warhol: Silver Clouds
- Robert Farber: A Retrospective, 1985-1995
- Lewis deSoto: Paranirvana
- Bernard Maisner: Entrance to the Scriptorium
- MOCRA: The First Five Years
- Tobi Kahn: Metamorphoses
- Manfred Stumpf: Enter Jerusalem
- Utopia Body Paint: Australian Aboriginal Art
- Steven Heilmer: Pietre Sante | Holy Stones
- Edward Boccia: Eye of the Painter
- Frederick J. Brown: The Life of Christ Altarpiece
- Eleanor Dickinson: A Retrospective
- Ian Friend: The Edge of Belief
- Keith Haring: Altarpiece: The Life of Christ
- Consecrations: The Spiritual in Art in the Time of AIDS
- Post-Minimalism and the Spiritual
- Georges Rouault: Miserere et Guerre
- Body and Soul: Alvin Ailey
- Sanctuaries: Recovering the Holy in Contemporary Art
MOCRA exhibitions: Utopia Body Paint
|The landmark Utopia Body Paint Collection of Australian Aboriginal art in its only Midwest showing.
Also on display are Aboriginal works of art from St. Louis collections.
Joy Kngwarreye, Grass Seed, 1990. Acrylic on canvas. 24 x 36 in.
Utopia Body Paint
|Creativity as Ancestral Mind: Living with the Ancestors
an afternoon symposium
Sunday, June 7, 1997 2:00 - 5:00 p.m.
free and open to the public
for more information click here
Body, Country, Canvas
Meaning & Identity in Central Desert Aboriginal Women's Art
a lecture by Dr. Jennifer L. Biddle
Thursday, July 24, 1997 7:30 p.m.
free and open to the public
for more information click here
|General Exhibition Information
Hours: Tues - Sun, 11 am - 4 pm
Directions and parking information
Group visit information
|A vigorous cultural revival is evident today throughout Aboriginal communities in Australia. Artists at Utopia -- a tract of Aboriginal freehold land in the central desert of Australia -- have produced some of the most vital, exuberant, and distinctive imagery of the contemporary Aboriginal art movement. Led initially by the women, contemporary art practice at Utopia began via the medium of batik in the late 1970s. A gradual revival of the traditional cycles of cultural renewal along with the advent of acrylic painting in other parts of the desert resulted in a flowering of works by Utopia artists in the late 1980s.|
|Utopia is the name given to the tribal lands of the Anmatyerre and Alyewarreye people. Situated 180 miles north of Alice Springs, in the very center of Australia, it is a desert land -- yet it has nourished its people and their traditional art for thousands of years. Australian tribal aborigines have survived because of their intimate kinship, knowledge and reverence for their land and for its creators, their ancestors who moved across the land and formed it in the dawn of time, known to them as The Dreaming.
|For the aborigine every aspect of the land is filled with the meaning and significance it had at creation: the ancestors who formed the land are still present within it. Each individual is entrusted with his or her own particular Dreaming—it may be an animal, a piece of vegetation, a rocky outcrop or other natural feature—and charged with responsibility for the land and its proper management. Part of that responsibility is discharged in ritual ceremonies of song and dance. Women play a prominent role in these ceremonies, decorating and painting their bodies with images of their own Dreaming to draw the connection between ceremony and land even more tightly. Utopia artists also might make their paintings on the ground, using the natural colors of the sand and the earth.
In 1990 Rodney Gooch, a visionary arts advisor, initiated a community-wide project. The Utopia communities were invited to transfer their body marking to oval-shaped canvas supports which evoke objects familiar to the artists, such as the shield, the dancing board and the churinga (a sacred object of stone or wood on which one's Dreaming is incised or painted). This collection of 77 canvases -- the Utopia Body Paint Collection -- demonstrates the extraordinary adaptability of contemporary aboriginal artists to transfer ancient traditions of image making to new media without losing the power of the images or compromising their ritual significance. Over the past 15 years the artists of Utopia, in common with other tribal peoples of central Australia, have been introduced to a variety of new media from acrylic paint and canvas, to batik, wood block printing and carving. MOCRA is pleased to present these works in St. Louis, a city which has enthusiastically embraced the art of contemporary Australia.
|MOCRA thanks the Ladue Investment Partnership, Inc., of St. Louis, MO, for making the Utopia Body Paint Collection available for exhibition. MOCRA is grateful also for the generous loans of art to this exhibition from other St. Louis collections. Acknowledgment is made to Nina Felshin, Independent Curator, New York, for tour coordination for the Collection.
Special acknowledgment is made to Mary Reid Brunstrom, Director, Austral Galllery - Australian Contemporary Art, St. Louis, MO. This exhibition was generously assisted by the Embassy of Australia, Washington, D.C.
Learn more about the Utopia region and its artists
A tribute to the Austral Gallery
Utopia Body Paint in the media
Utopia Body Paint. Installation at MOCRA, 1997.