Magic Lantern slideshow

 

                                                             New England Regional Art Museum, Armidale, 2007

Toyota Go Anywhere

A Magic Lantern Slideshow

Reminiscent of the ‘magic lantern’ presentations brought by Christian missionaries to the remote NT and WA Western Desert Aboriginal people in the 1930’s, Naomi Ullmann’s  Toyota Go Anywhere returns to and reflects on this same landscape and it’s people 70 years on.

Her response after living and working with NT Papunya Tula artists, was to re-create another magic lantern slideshow by engraving a series of glass slides, inserting them into an oversized carousel and through an antique magic lantern, projecting them as shadow images on the wall. Visitors are asked to slowly rotate the carousel with the accompaniment of music composed and recorded by young Aboriginal men from Kintore NT.

Whereas the visiting missionaries’ purpose was to present their gospel to an audience of aboriginal residents, Ullmann’s is to evoke in her engravings, the wisdom and connection to the land held by female elders and to show the everyday, reflected by images of old cars and lean camp dogs lying on the desert sand. We are reminded of the slideshow’s origins with juxtaposition of religious imagery, which whilst questioning the role of the church, respects the Aboriginal people’s deep spirituality and does not lecture or romanticise.

 

Andrea Gledhill

Curator and Program Manager

New England Regional Art Museum