Remote Avant-Garde: Aboriginal Art under Occupation
Jennifer Loureide Biddle is Director of Visual Anthropology & Visual Culture and Senior Research Fellow at the National Institute for Experimental Arts at the University of New South Wales. She is the author of Breasts, Bodies, Canvas: Central Desert Art as Experience.
Rhonda Unurupa Dick
Digital capacities for the making of Indigenous futures are thriving across the Central and Western Desert, under the aegis of initiatives such as the Desart Art Workers Photography Award, which are serving to Indigenize the Aboriginal art industry. This chapter tracks the history of this award and its importance for art-workers-cum-artists such as Rhonda Unurupa Dick. Dick’s award-winning landscape portraiture confounds distinctions between subject and object, human and nature, literacy and the photograph. Her work reveals how, contra to expectation, tradition is not at risk from the technological revolution. Rather, the indexical nature of the photographic imprint shares ontological immediacies with originary Ancestral imprintation, conjoining in her work, to command a new revelatory potency. The mediatory capacities of the digital allow the real work of tradition to reveal itself.