Special exhibitions, Australian Aboriginal Cultures
Tjinytjirra Tjukurrpa, 2004, Coiley Campbell Acrylic on Canvas 133 x 108 cm Kayili Artists

McMahon Collection

Following direction from the Federal Government and the South Australian Government, the state’s major cultural institutions – South Australian Museum, State Library of South Australia and Art Gallery of South Australia – will temporarily close to the public from 5.00pm 25 March 2020. This action is in the interests of public safety in response to COVID-19.

The collection of Aboriginal Art the McMahon's have built covers the finest of Ngaanyatjarra artists and some of their most important works. This comprehensive survey of work has been donated to the South Australian Museum, providing a critical new chapter in the Museum’s collections.

The McMahon Collection has a balance of male and female artists and a strong focus on the core Dreaming narratives in men and women's Law. The men’s paintings are connected by the shared narrative of the Tingarri ancestors who created the Country and Law across much of the desert. The women’s paintings are largely focussed on aspects of the Seven Sisters Dreaming. This story charts the travels of seven ancestral women, forming the moral and physical geography of the world, as they seek to escape the clutches of a lecherous old man.

The men’s and women’s paintings are hung here in separate rooms. This reveals how different artists innovate around the same story. It also reveals how the core cultural narratives of Ngaanyatjarra people have become the creative foundations of contemporary art. 

Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by Brian and Rosanne McMahon

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