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San Antonio Museum of Art

Of Country and Culture…

It’s not everyday that an Aboriginal Australian Art collection comes to San Antonio, Texas. Nor is it commonplace that an Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, Australian plays in the NBA. What do these unusual circumstances have in common? Patty Mills.

From February 24, 2017 to May 14, 2017 -Of Country and Culture: The Lam Collection of Contemporary Australian Aboriginal Art- will be on display at the San Antonio Museum of Art in downtown San Antonio. Patty Mills, an indigenous Australian currently playing for the San Antonio Spurs, met with the Lam Family and later had the opportunity to explain to museum guests and friends why the exhibit is so important to him. Mills stated, “It’s who we really are. People always talk about the Spurs and how we do a decent job at playing basketball, but this is an example for me to show a deeper meaning of who we are and where we come from”.

Mills’ mother is an Aboriginal Australian originally from the Kokatha people in South Australia. His father is from the far north Torres Strait Islands. Because his parents represent two of the native groups of Australia, Mills says he “gets the best of both worlds”. The Of Country and Culture exhibit focuses on Aboriginal art mediums including sand painting, body painting, grave poles, and ceremonial spears. The collection includes a significant number of works by women artists, which is a change from their historical exclusion from the contemporary painting movement in Australia.

The presence of Aboriginal peoples’ in Australia dates back over 50,000 years Australia is the location of the earliest civilizations known to humankind. Art has always played a fundamental role in Aboriginal societies and is connected intimately to daily life and traditions. For Mills, this art defines his culture and essence, stating “I love basketball; it is work, but has brought me here today. However, I never want basketball to define me as a person. As you walk through this museum, this is my culture, this is who I am, this is what I want to share with you all.”

Of Country and Culture: The Lam Collection of Contemporary Australian Aboriginal Art
February 24 – May 14, 2017

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