Art History in Remote Aboriginal Art Centres

Darren Jorgensen

Abstract


The 2008 Congress of the International Committee of the History of Art in Melbourne suggested in its theme of 'Crossing Cultures' that art history must revise its nationalistic methodologies to construct more international histories of art. This essay addresses the legacy of different eras and methods of writing the art history of remote Aboriginal artists. It argues that colonialism has structured many of the ways in which this art history has been written, and that the globalisation of art history does little to rectify these structures. Instead, art history must turn to institutions that are less implicated in the legacy of colonialism to frame its work. Rather than turning to the museums and art galleries who have provided much of the material for the art histories of the twentieth century, this essay suggests that remote art centres offer dynamic opportunities for doing twenty-first century art history. Founded in an era of political self-determination for remote Aboriginal people, these centres aspire to create an opportunity for the expression of a cultural difference whose origins precede the invasion and colonisation of Australia. Art centres and their archives present an opportunity to work through the legacies of colonialism in the art history of remote Australian Aboriginal artists

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1344/co20131177-84

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