UQ art installation to challenge what it means to be Australian

15 September 2014

The University of Queensland’s Great Court will be filled with challenging artworks for the Courting Blakness art installation this month.
Installation curator Adjunct Professor Fiona Foley said the works would challenge people to think about what it means to be Australian.

University of Queensland Faculty of Arts
UQ Great Court will be filled with art for the “Courting Blakness” installation

“Through bringing eight Aboriginal artists into the University of Queensland’s Great Court we are reinterpreting this space,” she said.
“The artists are reshaping the way we think about Australian identity.
“What happens when you subvert constructs of power? I think that the Great Court is a construct of power and by subverting that space you actually create a more interesting space.
“Through Courting Blakness we’re going to enter into a new dialogue that we’ve never had before,” Adjunct Professor Foley said.
Courting Blakness uses original art to create new ways of visualising Indigenous belonging within universities and the community.
UQ lecturer in Cultural Studies Dr Fiona Nicoll said the contributions of generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander thinkers, activists, writers and artists to ways of knowing, seeing and being human had been invisible or undervalued in universities.
“Today, Indigenous knowledge and cultural industries are increasingly recognised as drivers of social change and innovation in the global university,” she said.
The ground-breaking art installation will bring together works by Michael Cook, Christian Thompson, Karla Dickens, Megan Cope, Natalie Harkin, r e a, Ryan Presley and Archie Moore.
Three artworks in photography, fabric and sculpture will be placed at points within the Great Court and multimedia works were screened onto the sandstone walls in the early evening on Sept. 5 and 6.
Courting Blakness will be in the Great Court on the University of Queensland’s St Lucia Campus from Sept. 5–28 with a free public national symposium that was held on Sept. 5 and 6, which was addressed by Indigenous academic and arts industry figures.
Dr Foley, who works jointly with the Schools of English, Media Studies and Art History and Political Science and International Studies in the UQ Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, was the Australia Council’s artist of the year in 2013.
Courting Blakness is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, Alumni Friends of UQ, Copyright Agency Cultural Fund, Professor Fred D’Agostino, the National Indigenous Research and Knowledges Network and The University of Queensland.
UQ School of English, Media Studies and Art History
The school’s recognised excellence in research and teaching develops and fosters cultural knowledge and creativity for local, national, and international communities. The school focuses on the study of culture and society through contemporary and historical texts and cultural practices. By examining communication, representation, and cultural production, whether books, paintings, theatrical productions, films, television shows, or new media, the University of Queensland explores the ways in which people interpret, make and remake their world.


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