Monday, September 15, 2008

Aboriginal elder Bill Harney to be in residence at the Art Museum

Bill Harney, Judinung: Dreaming for the Tawny Frog Face Owl (not dated, paint on linen). Harney says of this painting, "Owl sang all night at the burial ground. It makes people in spiritual darkness happy. It danced back and forth all night." Courtesy of the UW Art Museum

Yidumduma Bill Harney is an Elder and the last Senior Male Aboriginal custodian of the Wardaman people of the Victoria, Flora, and Katherine River Districts of the Northern Territory of Australia. Born in MUY MUY clan country in the early 1930's, Yidumduma is of the YBULYAWAN clan.

Raised and educated in Wardaman traditional ceremony, Yidumduma is a fully initiated Wardaman man and speaks seven languages. He worked at an early age on cattle stations and throughout his life has prospered in both Indigenous and non-Indigenous worlds.

He has been described as one of Australia's living 'National Treasures'.
Source: Paul Taylor webpage

Yidumduma Bill Harney will be on campus the week of Sept. 22 to visit classes, exhibit his paintings, and turn the Art Museum lobby into a studio. His schedule is:

Monday, Sept. 22
Bill begins painting in the Art Museum lobby. He will be available to talk with visitors and will use the lobby as his studio through mid-day Thursday, Sept. 25.
11:00 am World Music class at the Art Museum
6:00-8:00 pm Opening of Bill Harney exhibition in the Centennial Complex Gallery

Tuesday, Sept. 23
Painting continues
1:30-2:30 pm Religious Anthropology class (Anth 150)
3:00-4:00 pm Medical Anthropology class (Anth 150)
4:15-5:00 pm Intro to International Studies class (Anth 150)

Wednesday, Sept. 24
Painting continues
11:00 am - 12:00 pm H&G Anthropology class (Anth 150)
6:30 - 7:30 pm Foundations in American Indian Studies class

Thursday, Sept. 25
10:00 am Schools Concert, Recital Hall, Fine Arts Building
1:00 pm Painting at the Art Museum concludes
7:30 - 9 pm Public Concert, Recital Hall; public presentation of painting

On Friday, Sept. 26, Bill will visit the University of Colorado / Boulder. The next week, he will viist the Wind River Reservation to meet with Arapaho and Shoshone elders.

Bill's visit is a partnership between the Art Museum, American Indian Studies, Music, and Anthropology. It has been funded in part by a grants from the President's Advisory Committee for Minority and Womens Affairs and the Wyoming Arts Council's Folk Arts Program.

Press release for Bill Harney.

For more information, visit the Art Museum's webpage or contact Wendy Bredehoft, 307-766-6620 or

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