The Living Archive of Aboriginal Art: Expressions of Indigenous Knowledge Systems Through Collaborative Art-Making
AuthorEdmonds, F; Khan, R; THORNER, S; Clarke, M
Source TitleRevista de Estudios Globales y Arte Contemporáneo|
PublisherUniversity of Barcelona
University of Melbourne Author/sEdmonds, Fran
AffiliationSchool of Culture and Communication
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsEdmonds, F., Khan, R., THORNER, S. & Clarke, M. (2020). The Living Archive of Aboriginal Art: Expressions of Indigenous Knowledge Systems Through Collaborative Art-Making. Revista de Estudios Globales y Arte Contemporáneo|, 7 (1), pp.267-311. https://doi.org/10.1344/%25x.
Access StatusOpen Access
ARC Grant codeARC/IN200100042
In 2018, the Mutti Mutti/ Wemba Wemba/Boonwurrung artist Maree Clarke was commissioned by the University of Melbourne to create two large scale eel traps for two very different sites. The first a spectacular glass eel trap for the newly renovated Old Quad – the oldest building on the University’s campus and the second, a 10-metre woven eel trap constructed at the Footscray Community Arts Centre in Melbourne’s inner-west. The story of the eel traps is a launch pad and an end point for our discussion about the Living Archive of Aboriginal Art. Like eels and the eel traps, Aboriginal knowledge has endured across millenia – and art-making supports processes for this knowledge to be sustained. We discuss a series of workshops held in Maree’s backyard/artist studio and argue that Maree’s generosity and willingness to share her art-making knowledge with broad networks of people, fosters communal bonds that instil a sense of collective responsibility for Aboriginal cultural knowledge. We then discuss the two eel trap artworks to show how their stories offer different possibilities for decolonising Western knowledge institutions (the university and the art gallery) through engagement with Indigenous knowledge systems. How this emerges through knowledge exchange in Maree’s backyard, we argue, reveals a Living Archive.
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