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Gooch's Utopia

Collected Works from the Central Desert

written by Philip Batty , Fiona Salmon

Flinders University Art Museum | ISBN 9780725811082

Paperback – 96 pages


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Curated by Fiona Salmon, Director of Flinders University Art Museum, this exhibition featured works drawn from the art collections of the late Rodney Gooch (1949-2002) and donated by him to Riddoch Art Gallery (Mount Gambier) and Flinders University Art Musuem in Adelaide.

Encompassing batik, paintings, works on paper, sculpture and other three dimensional objects, the project surveyed the work of Anmatyerr and Alyawarr artists resident at the outstations of Utopia, a tract of land 240km north-east of Alice Springs, in the latter decades of the 20th Century. Almost all of the Utopia works were by women and many of the designs were concerned with ‘Awely’ or ‘Women’s Ceremony’. Interestingly the exhibition also examined the contribution one person can make to the public realm as a private collector.

As a magnanimous and uniquely spirited individual of eclectic taste and extraordinary energy, Gooch established an extended Aboriginal family to whom he was committed until the very end (dying in 2002). Assisting artists in the making and marketing of their work, Gooch was to have a lasting impact on the production of new art forms, art sales and ultimately the business of art dealing in the Central Desert.

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