Newswise — Australian Indigenous Art Triennial: Culture Warriors, the largest exhibition of contemporary Australian Indigenous Art to travel to the United States, will make its American debut at the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center on Tuesday, September 8.

The exhibition features work by artists from each state and territory in Australia and includes painting on canvas and bark, sculpture, textiles, weaving, new media, video, photo-media and installation works. The works are abstract and figurative, drawing on the past as they comment on the present.

Australian Indigenous culture has existed for the last 60,000 years, making it the oldest continuing culture in the world. A culture with strong spiritual connections to the land, sea, and the stars, it includes numerous distinct clans, each with its own language and artistic tradition.

Australian Indigenous Art Triennial: Culture Warriors was organized by the National Gallery of Australia, where it was first shown in October of 2007. It was inspired in part by the 40th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum that determined Australia’s Indigenous people should be officially counted as citizens of Australia and included in the census. More than 90 percent of Australia’s non-Indigenous population voted in favor of the referendum.

“The title ‘Culture Warriors’ reflects the determination of the numerous Indigenous groups of people to preserve their identities while being included in their homeland’s culture and history,” said Jack Rasmussen, director and curator of the American University Museum.

Three additional exhibitions will open the same day as the Australian Indigenous Art Triennial: Culture Warriors:

John Dreyfuss: Inventions will display six new large-scale works by D.C. sculptor Dreyfuss in the Sylvia Berlin Katzen Sculpture Garden. The clean lines of Dreyfuss’s forms represent stylized hand tools made larger-than-life.

Paul Feinberg: Another Washington celebrates and preserves a vibrant—sometimes quirky and seamy, but always poignant—Washington. This Washington is not the one tourists see in travel guides. Feinberg’s camera lens presents intimate looks at all kinds of Washingtonians and their neighborhood haunts and places of pleasure. Feinberg’s photographic and prose portraits of Washington, D.C., have appeared in local magazines for more than 35 years.

Ron Haynie: Playing with Light is the culmination of a painting tradition encouraged at American University by alumnus and former professor Haynie that delicately balanced representation and abstraction while the various “isms” of the postmodernist era came and went. In Haynie’s hands, paint performed as material, light, color, space, gesture, and feeling all at once.

All exhibitions open to the public starting on Tuesday, September 8. The Australian Indigenous Art Triennial: Culture Warriors closes Sunday, December 6. Paul Feinberg: Another Washington and Ron Haynie: Playing with Light close Sunday, October 25. John Dreyfuss: Inventions closes Sunday, January 17, 2010.

Australian Indigenous Art Triennial: Culture Warriors, is supported by principal sponsor BHP Billiton, airline sponsor Qantas, and Australian government sponsors the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy/Visions of Australia/Contemporary Touring Initiative, the Australia Council, the Queensland Government, the Northern Territory Government, the Government of Western Australia’s Department of Culture And the Arts, and Arts Victoria.

MUSEUM INFORMATION, EXHIBITION HOURS, LOCATION: The American University Museum is a three-story public museum and sculpture garden located within the university’s Katzen Arts Center. The region’s largest university facility for exhibiting art, the museum has a permanent collection that highlights the donors’ holdings and AU’s Watkins Collection. Rotating exhibitions emphasize regional, national, and international contemporary art. In October, the museum opened a retail shop that sells books, catalogs, and prints related to past and current exhibitions, as well fine crafts and other one-of-a-kind objects. The Katzen Café is open every weekday when the museum is open.

The Katzen Arts Center, named for Washington-area benefactors Dr. and Mrs. Cyrus Katzen, brings all the visual and performing arts programs at AU into one space. Designed to foster interdisciplinary collaboration in the arts, the Katzen includes the museum, the Abramson Family Recital Hall, the Studio Theatre, a dance studio, an electronics studio, artists’ studios, rehearsal space, and classrooms.

The museum, located at 4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20016, is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. Museum admission is free.

Register for reporter access to contact details