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.
Yiwarra Kuju: The Canning Stock Route debuted in 2010 and toured nationally for two years before coming to reside at the National Museum of Australia. This exhibition is not really about history; rather, it is about the archive. The deceptively simple version of this story is that it tells the Aboriginal point of view of the Canning Stock Route, a watering route for cattle blazed in 1906 and running 1,850 kilometers across Western Australia. But this Indigenous-modelled, relational-curatorial project achieved an arts industry first of staggering proportion. Over a four-year period, an intercultural project team of community arts experts consulted with Aboriginal communities and artists, generating original artworks and oral history, partnering with art centers, and mentoring Aboriginal curators, researchers, and media makers to engender an Aboriginal-determined national archive. Chapter 8 presents this history in the complex and dense terms of local lived memory and experience.