John Harkey - Sacred Errand: The return of a sacred object to Aboriginal Australia

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Thursday, November 16, 2017 5:30pm - 6:30pm
List Art Building, Room 120

"Sacred Errand:" The Return of a Sacred Object to Aboriginal Australia

During a century of British colonial occupation many Aboriginal tjurunga (cher – UNGA) stones, which had bound together countless generations, were stolen, sold to collectors, or forfeited to missionaries. John Harkey, author of “Sacred Errand in Aboriginal Australia,” will recount his journey undertaken to return a long-displaced tjurunga stone to its traditional Aboriginal owner. Harkey’s talk will take us from the country’s white perimeter to the Aboriginal “Center,” from museum to Lutheran mission, from Aboriginal settlements to the natural shrine (and tourist destination) of Uluru. Above all, his talk is a call for us to respect and protect heritage.

John Harkey’s book “Sacred Errand” was first presented as an illustrated lecture series sponsored by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities. Harkey previously received a National Endowment For The Humanities grant to produce the photographic exhibition “San Antonio, What Is At Issue?,” which examined historic and contemporary social issues of that city. The author’s father, a geophysicist, led his young family to Libya, then to Australia where “Sacred Errand” had its beginnings. Harkey is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design (MFA ’78) and is a retired, award-winning commercial photographer. His fine art photographs are in the collections of the Dallas Museum of Art, and the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. “Sacred Errand” is Harkey’s first book.

Reception to follow.