The Loaded Ground: Michael Nelson Jagamara & Imants Tillers

Dates & times

Thu 16 August — Sun 23 September 2012

Image: Imants Tillers & Michael Nelson Jagamara
2008, acrylic and gouache on 90 canvas boards, 228 x 356 cm overall. Courtesy the artists and Fireworks Gallery, Brisbane


The Loaded Ground addresses the controversial issues of cultural ownership, the relationship between indigenous and post-modernist art, and the reconciliatory power of collaboration.

In the 1980s, Imants Tillers appropriated Michael Nelson Jagamara’s painting Five Dreamings ‘without permission’ in his work The Nine Shots. This act provoked intense discussion about Tillers’ motivation as post-modernism and Australian indigenous art seemed to represent diametrically opposed cultural ideologies. In 1999 Jagamara responded to Tillers by appropriating back his own motifs from Nine Shots in a series of paintings exhibited in the Third Asia Pacific Triennial and in 2001 Jagamara and Tillers agreed to make collaborative works in which each artist contributes layers to the painting, with Jagamara getting both the first and last say.

To contextualise their unique collaborative works this exhibition will also survey some of the artist’s most important and pivotal individual works created prior, during and within the context of the debate surrounding appropriation and Indigenous art.

Curated by Michael Eather, Imants Tillers and Nancy Sever.


Updated:  7 January 2013/ Responsible Officer:  DHG Director/ Page Contact:  Drill Hall Gallery