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the history of the collection

fascination – respect – immensely appealing to the eye –

These were my first impressions seeing Australian Aboriginal Art, after arriving in Australia in the late 1970s. Coming from Western Europe, where the rage of Abstract Art gained an unstoppable momentum, Aboriginal Art presented an aspect which Western Art seemed to have lost, that is, perspective of time immortal, a concept of understanding nature and environment, and a way of expressing the world without words. The vivid and warm colours, often from earthen materials, convey a strong connection with nature and express the importance of the land to the Aboriginal Community. Aboriginal people live from the land and from the environment, and in their own way have mastered nature to their advantage. Their artworks are often expressions of their spirituality.

One of my first items in this collection was a reddish Mimih figure, a beautiful, slender wooden sculpture, whose face and eyes have something stoic and a penetrating look through time immortal. Later on, my fascination grew with the hollow logs, often beautifully decorated with their Clan’s body design and colours. More serious collecting started only in the early 1990s, and by then painting on canvas had become prolific and gained its own momentum in the Art World.

The creation of art works by the Aboriginal people is unique in our time. They have a natural gift and talent to render a visual picture of their deep relationship with their land, their awareness and their Dream Time stories, as they have been passed on to new generations.

Fortunately, my brother Andreas in Switzerland joined me in building up the collection with larger canvasses and some of the works are now also in Switzerland. Besides sculptures and canvasses the collection comprises original lithographs, which are a symbiosis of traditional Aboriginal design and Western printing techniques. The result is often astounding and allows the Aboriginal Artists to express themselves also via this medium.

Each picture tells its own story and the Western ‘eye’ tries to unravel the mystery often depicted in the most vivid colours and forms. One never gets tired of looking at a good canvass, as so much is revealed over time.

Our collection is by no means complete. We have tried to have representative material from a variety of regional Art Communities from all over Australia in the various Art categories. We believe that the collection stands and over time it will be complemented with additional works.

Beat and Andreas Knoblauch, Sydney – January 2012