ARTSongs: The Soul Beneath My Skin

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Primary Supervisor

Younger, Jay

Other Supervisors

Fredericks, Bronwyn

Haebich, Anna

Bradbury, Keith

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This exegesis frames my studio thesis, which explores whether visual art can be a site for reconciliation, a tool for healing, an educational experience and a political act. It details how my art work evolved as a series of cycles and stages, as a systematic engagement with people, involving them in a process of investigating 'their' own realities - both the stories of their inner worlds and the community story framework of their outer conditions. It reveals how for my ongoing work as an indigenous artist, I became the learner and the teacher, the subject and the object. Of central importance for my exploration was the concept and methodology of bothways. As a social process, bothways action-learning methodology was found to incorporate the needs, motivations and cultural values of the learner through negotiated learning. Discussion of bothways methodology and disciplinary context demonstrated the relationships, connections and disjunctions shared by both Aboriginal and Western domains and informed the processes and techniques to position visual art as an educational experience and a tool for healing. From this emerged a range of ARTsongs - installations which reveal possible new alternatives sites for reconciliation, spaces and frames of reference to 'open our minds, heart and spirit so we can know beyond the boundaries of what is acceptable, so that we can think and rethink, so that we can create new visions, transgressions - a movement against and beyond boundaries' (hooks, 1994 p.12). Central to studio production was bricolage as an artistic strategy and my commitment to praxis - to weaving together my art practice with hands-on political action and direct involvement with my communities. I refer to this as the trial and feedback process or SIDEtracks. These were documented acts of personal empowerment, which led to a more activist role in the political struggle of reconciliation. I conclude that, as aboriginal people, we can provide a leadership role, and in so doing, we can demonstrate to the wider community how to move beyond a state of apathy.

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Thesis Type

Thesis (Professional Doctorate)

Degree Program

Doctor of Visual Arts (DVA)


Queensland College of Art

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The author owns the copyright in this thesis, unless stated otherwise.

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installation art


Australian aboriginal artists

minority art

minority arts


race relations


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