Units of Study

ARHT2636 - Contemporary Indigenous Australian Art

Semester 2, 2011  |  Credit Points: 6

Coordinator: Roger Harold Benjamin


This unit studies the efflorescence of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, which makes up over half of today's Australian art market. While providing a grounding in major movements like Papunya Tula (from 1971) and bark painting in Arnhem Land, the focus will be on critical and theoretical issues affecting art practice today: questions of appropriation and copyright, the relationship of art to native title and reconciliation, the market for Indigenous art (from prestigious auctions to tourist shops), the politics of curatorial practice, the changing status of women artists, the Indigenous use and re-use of photography, and the relevance of postmodern and postcolonial theories in reading urban art. Key figures treated will include Tracy Moffatt, Gordon Bennett, Rover Thomas and Emily Kngwarreye. Certain classes will be conducted at the Art Gallery of New South Wales or the Museum of Contemporary Art. Lecturers will include prominent Indigenous curators and artists.


1x4000-4500 wd essay and 1x exhibition (100%)


Recommended Readings:
Howard Murphy, 'Aboriginal Art', Phaidon, London, 1998
Wally Caruana, 'Aboriginal Art', Thames & Hudson, 1993
Sylvia Kleinert and Margo Neale (eds), 'The Oxford Companion to Aboriginal Art and Culture', OUP, 2000
Course Reader is available from the Uinversity Copy Centre


1x2-hr lecture/week, 1x1-hr tutorial/week


ARHT1001 and ARHT1002



Additional Information

This unit is available as a designated 'Advanced' unit to students enrolled in the BA (Advanced) degree program.

A timetable is not available for this session.
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