Giant metallic mud crabs climb up the façade…Strange sea creatures swim through the air…..A doorway has become an eight meter high ceremonial headdress.
Welcome to Taba Naba, the world’s largest exhibition of Aboriginal art and artefacts on display at Monaco’s Institut Océanographic until September.
Thirty Aboriginal and Torres Straight Island artists were in Monaco for the opening and to arrange their super-size artworks that include a 670 square meter stencil of a turtle that covers the entire roof of the Museum.
“It is a fantastic opportunity for Australian indigenous people to give voice to the world about what is happening there and their way of expression”, said ABIE member Stéphane Jacob, Paris art specialist and project manager of the Monaco exhibition. “Taba Naba is far removed from the stereotype of dot painting that has defined Indigenous art in the past.”
“Ghost Nets” is the centerpiece as you entered the Museum, a colourful tribute to the huge numbers of fish and sea creatures that are trapped and die in abandoned fishing nets. Like land mines, fishing nets go on killing long after their initial use is over. The coastal people drag these nets ashore and weave from them whales and dolphins, sea horses and starfish. A reminder of the fragility of the ocean.
Paintings, sculpture, weavings, masks, photographs, videos and ancient carvings come together in a magic and non-moralizing way to underscore the Museum’s mission, as defined by Prince Albert 1 who founded it in 1899 : “Knowing, loving and protecting the sea.”
And what is the meaning of the exhibition’s title Taba Naba? It’s the name of an island dance about going fishing and the joys of being on the sea. Don’t miss it.