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John von Sturmer / performer profile

(Dr) John von Sturmer

A long and distinguished career in Aboriginal studies. A central participant in many key events and issues including uranium mining in Western Arnhem Land (Director of the Project to Monitor the Social Impact of Uranium Mining on the Aborigines of the Northern Territory, 1978-1984, and principal author, Consolidated Report: Aborigines and Uranium 1984: AIAS), the Aboriginal Customary Law Reference, and the Wik Native Title Claim. Foundation member of the Wik Native Title Team, and research director/senior adviser to the agreement implementation committee. From 1998-2002, Principal Advisor and Research Director to the AIC and the First Nations Joint Company, advancing Aboriginal interests in the PNG-Gladstone gas pipeline proposal (1998-2002). A long involvement in Aboriginal art and performance.

Teaching and/or research positions in the universities of New England, Queensland, New South Wales & Charles Darwin, and at the Australian Institute for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Studies.
Early proponent of structuralist theory in the Australian academic scene. Widely published in the areas of Aboriginal studies, structuralist theory, art criticism. Has made a number of ethnographic films (Lockhard Festival).

Since 1994 freelance writer-critic-artist-research consultant.

Solo art shows: Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre 1999, Mori Gallery 2004; various group shows.

Recent art pieces (installations): No Sea, No Shore, in Replacements: other drawing, reveries of the everyday (April-May 2009), Tin Sheds Gallery, University of Sydney; Unfinished Business: AUST/RA/LIA (2), in The Good the Bad the Muddy, Ceramics Triennale, Mori Gallery, Sydney (July 2009); Too Many, Too Few, Not Enough (with Albertina Viegas) Mori Gallery, Sydney (July-Aug 2009); SATANIC/SS(T)I(T)ANIC: METHINKS WE SEE … & ALL HALE THE WHALE BOAT with Daniel Wallace, in Performance Night at Pearl Beach, Community Hall (28 August 2009); Unfinished Business #2, in Interventions – experiments between art & ethnography, in conjunction with the Australian Anthropological Society’s Annual Conference, Macquarie University Art Gallery, Sydney (December 2009-February 2010)

Recent lectures/talks/performances: Invited respondent, Art and Appropriation Post the Apology, Ivan Dougherty Gallery and Centre for Contemporary Arts and Politics, COFA, UNSW (1-2 May 2009); No Sea, No Shore: an improvised performance with Slawek Janicki (double bass) Tin Sheds Gallery, University of Sydney (2 May, 8 May 2009); lecture/performance: The Art of Cape York Peninsula and Arnhem Land, (ABORIGINAL ART, LANGUAGE & CULTURE) CoFA, UNSW (5 May 2009); (When the Image Looks Back …), Institute of Postcolonial Studies, North Melbourne (5 June 2009); In memory of Mr Ward, Mori Gallery (2 Aug 2009); The State of Contemporary Aboriginal Art, CoFA (25 Aug 2009); Improvised performances with Slawek Janicki & Qba Janicki, Performance Night at Pearl Beach, Community Hall (28 Aug 2009); A Conversation with Bandak Marika, Institute of Postcolonial Studies, North Melbourne (18 Sept 2009); Views from Afar, (Polish interpretation by Rafal Zimny) to launch an exhibition of Aboriginal Paintings, Galeria Bwa, in 5th Mozg Festival, International Contemporary Music & Visual Arts Festival, Bydgoszcz, Poland; Nitra by day and by night, an improvised performance with Slawek Janicki (double bass), Nitra Gallery, Slovakia; Located Aesthetics panel, Australian Anthropological Society Conference, Macquarie University (10 Dec 2009); In the Shadow of the Forgotten Land, improvised performance with Slawek Janicki (double bass) to launch book of poetry ‘Raw Nerve’ by Richard Hillman, Friend-in-Hand pub, Sydney (19 December 2009).

Recent texts/publications: John von Sturmer & Seema Sanghi (eds) KURRA: Wilurarra Style, Warburton Youth Arts, Warburton (December 2008); Language matters, Voice of the land, Federation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages Issue 39 Jan 2009; On Being Good, in J. Polkinghorne (ed) The Good The Bad The Muddy Mori Gallery, Sydney (July 2009); Go tell it on the mountain, in Making it New: Focus on contemporary Australian Art, MCA, Sydney; In the eyes (Polish translation by Agata Zamiara), response to the exhibition Patrze, Galeria Kantorek, Bydgoszcz, and Polska by day and by night: or 5th MOZG Festival (Polish translation by Maryna Motylinska) in www.festiwal.mozg.pl as part of 5th Mozg Festival - International Contemporary Music & Visual Arts Festival, Bydgoszcz, Poland (December 2009); ‘Let’s play a game; yes, piggy-in-the-middle’: notes towards a performance, and Towards an Anthropology of Horror in Interventions – experiments between art and ethnography, Macquarie University, Sydney, (December 2009)

Positions: Co-founder & president, Association for Contemporary Music and Performance (www.acmp.org.au); Senior Fellow, Institute of Postcolonial Studies, Melbourne University; Member, Australian Institute of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS)