This book review is a guest post by Will Owen, who publishes the very good Aboriginal Art & Culture: an American eye. It was originally posted there in late April this year.
Readers who followed this blog for a long time know already of my admiration for John Carty’s work. John is an anthropologist trained at the Australian National University under Howard Morphy. He has long had an interest in art history, and has practiced both discipline throughout Western Australia for well over a decade now*.
Art and anthropology have rarely met so fortuitously and happily as when John went out to Balgo in 2002 to begin to learn about the art of the Western Desert. As he explained recently in a wonderful radio interview, he arrived in Balgo speaking not a word of the languages in use there and immediately fell to feeling quite lost.
As fate would have it, heavy rains farther south in Western Australia had flooded out the community of Kiwirrkura in 2001 and many of those residing there had relocated with relatives in Balgo. Among these was a man who had spent a good deal of his adult life in both communities.READ MORE