Mining giants, Indigenous peoples and art: Challenging settler colonialism in northern Australia through story painting

Mining giants, Indigenous peoples and art: Challenging settler colonialism in northern Australia through story painting Book Section

Environmental Impacts of Transnational Corporations in the Global South

  • Author(s): Kerins, Seán, Jordan, Kirrily
  • Published: 2018
  • Publisher: Emerald Publishing Limited

Abstract: The historian Patrick Wolfe reminds us that the settler colonial logic of eliminating native societies to gain unrestricted access to their territory is not a phenomenon confined to the distant past. As Wolfe (2006, p. 388) writes, “settler colonizers come to stay: invasion is a structure not an event.” In the Gulf of Carpentaria region in Australia’s Northern Territory this settler colonial “logic of elimination” continues through mining projects that extract capital for transnational corporations while contaminating Indigenous land, overriding Indigenous law and custom and undermining Indigenous livelihoods. However, some Garawa, Gudanji, Marra, and Yanyuwa peoples are using creative ways to fight back, exhibiting “story paintings” to show how their people experience the destructive impacts of mining. We cannot know yet the full impact of this creative activism. But their body of work suggests it has the potential to challenge colonial institutions from below, inspiring growing networks of resistance and a collective meaning-making through storytelling that is led by Indigenous peoples on behalf of the living world.

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Suggested Citation
Kerins, Seán, Jordan, Kirrily, 2018, Mining giants, Indigenous peoples and art: Challenging settler colonialism in northern Australia through story painting, Book Section, viewed 10 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=14277.

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