Collection calls for hanging

fiona-salmonOver coming months, many more of the 5000 works of art in the Flinders University Art Museum’s collection will be seen on campus as the roll out of a new art rental scheme begins.

It is part of the plan of newly-appointed Museum Director, Fiona Salmon, to encourage staff and students to engage with the collection by making it more visible.

“We have a really strong profile in the city with the Flinders University City Gallery located in the State Library on North Terrace through which we run an excellent public program,” Ms Salmon says.

“But I think it makes good sense that the resources we have here in the museum are appreciated and used on campus,” she says.

Ms Salmon, who was Collections Manager of the museum for two years, says there is enormous opportunity for the collection to be used in various ways for teaching and research purposes.

She has already had discussions with staff from the history department about the possibility of using a collection of feminist posters from the 1970s and ‘80s as a device to examine contemporary social history.

“We also have a fantastic collection of cartoons by Bruce Petty for example, which provides plenty of fodder for exploring Australia’s recent political history.”

In addition to one of the country’s largest collections of Post Object and Conceptual Art from the 1980s, the Museum holds an extensive collection of master prints dating from the 15th century.

There is also a strong focus on Indigenous art.

“There are parts of the collection that are extremely significant, in particular, the early paintings on boards from Papunya Tula,” Ms Salmon says.

It is an area of special interest for Ms Salmon, who spent five years in Arnhem Land working as a linguist and then as Director of Maningrida Arts and Culture. She then undertook museum studies in Victoria, followed by a stint working on the Museum Accreditation Program (MAP) operating under the auspices of Museums Australia (Victoria).

Fiona Salmon’s passion for her new role at Flinders University has some personal heritage – her great, great, great maternal grandfather, John Pilgrim, was married to Susanna Pearson, Matthew Flinders’ niece.

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