Art intervention explores Australian Indigenous medicine practices
The Berlin Museum of Medical History at Charité (BMM) has today launched the ‘Art of Healing’ exhibition. Prints and paintings by Indigenous Australian artists will be juxtaposed with historic specimens from the museum’s permanent display. The contemporary works of art depict healing practices and medicines from the artists’ own Indigenous communities and cultures.
Through their depictions of a rich Indigenous medicinal flora, the artists celebrate a long tradition of healing which predates Western medicine by tens of thousands of years. Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait art also has a role in teaching medical history and serves as a means of transferring knowledge to future generations. The exhibits invite visitors to open their minds and senses, allowing themselves to move beyond cultural borders.
Commenting on the current art intervention, Prof. Dr. Thomas Schnalke, Director of the BMM, said: “Our permanent exhibition shows the history of research dedicated to exploring the human body. The main exhibition hall contains approximately 750 specimens, which depict the ways in which pathologists viewed, recorded and interpreted abnormal organs around the turn of the century in 1900. We will now contrast this wholly Western perspective of the human body and its form with ‘the Art of Healing’, an exhibition purposely designed as an art intervention. The exhibits by contemporary Indigenous artists will enable visitors to view medicine from an entirely different perspective.”
Developed by the Melbourne Medical History Museum, the exhibition was first shown there in 2018/2019. Stressing the significance of the exhibition, H. E. Ms. Lynette Wood, the Australian Ambassador to Germany, said: “I am delighted that the ‘Art of Healing’ exhibition will be on display at the Berlin Museum of Medical History at Charité from October 2019 to February 2020. This cooperation of two outstanding institutes in Germany and Australia – Charité and University of Melbourne – honours the art, history and achievements of the Indigenous peoples of Australia, and further deepens the German-Australian relationship in the fields of art, academia and research.”
The art intervention ‘The Art of Healing: Australian Indigenous Bush Medicine’ will be at the Berlin Museum of Medical History at Charité, Campus Charité Mitte, Charitéplatz 1, 10117 Berlin, from 25 October 2019 to 2 February 2020. Campus address: Virchowweg 17.
Prof. Dr. Thomas Schnalke
Director of the Berlin Museum of Medical History at Charité
Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Tel: +49 30 450 536 077
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