The Art/Ethnography Binary: Post-Colonial Tensions within the Field of Australian Aboriginal Art

The Art/Ethnography Binary: Post-Colonial Tensions within the Field of Australian Aboriginal Art Journal Article

Cultural Sociology

  • Author(s): Fisher, L.
  • Published: 2012
  • Volume: 6

Abstract: An Art/Ethnography binary informs a range of discursive engagements with Australian Aboriginal art. Ethnography is usually associated with colonialism, primitivism and regarded as circumscribing the art, while Art is posited as unequivocally progressive and good. This article will discuss the activities of various Indigenous and non-Indigenous actors in the Aboriginal art world, and explore the way the Art/Ethnography binary’s reiteration by these actors instantiates the way this field is shaped by the tensions that arise from Australia’s condition as a settler state with a marginalized Indigenous population. It will show that the trope of Art versus Ethnography has a multifaceted operative power that reflects remote and urban Aboriginal artists’ differential participation within the field, and the complex relationship between two objectives that politicize it: the desire for recognition on the part of Indigenous actors, and the desire for post-colonial redemption on the part of non-Indigenous actors.

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Suggested Citation
Fisher, L., 2012, The Art/Ethnography Binary: Post-Colonial Tensions within the Field of Australian Aboriginal Art, Volume:6, Journal Article, viewed 15 June 2024, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=5058.

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