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Performing Colonial Photography

5 Sessions
Wednesday 18 & Wednesday 25 August 2010, 6.15pm
Wednesday 1, Wednesday 8 & Wednesday 15 September 2010, 6.15pm
at Centre for Contemporary Photography.
Gold-coin donation, no bookings required.

Presented in conjunction with The Australian Centre, The University of Melbourne.

For more information, download the full program here 388 KB

Session 1 — Wednesday 18 August (at CCP)

Jirra Lulla Harvey
A Minstrel Legacy: Typecasting Indigeneity

Jirra Lulla Harvey looks at Bindi Cole's photographic series Not Really Aboriginal in relation to the history of Blackface performance in Australia. Underpinned by the question of light skinned Aboriginal identity, this paper draws parallels between government led assimilation policies and minstrel performance, both of which claim the right to classify another's racial identity.

Jirra Lulla Harvey is an advocate for Indigenous self-representation in the arts and media industries. She focused her studies on representations of ethnicity in popular culture and the creation of racial stereotypes that permeate contemporary Australian life. She has worked in Aboriginal education and youth affairs, while gaining experience as a freelance curator, arts writer and journalist.

Session 2 — Wednesday 18 August (at CCP)

Wendy Red Star
Crow Indians Past and Present

Wendy Red Star grew up on the Crow Indian Reservation in south central Montana, USA. She is half Crow Indian and half Irish American. Red Star's art explores her cultural and ethnic hybridity—the notion of navigation and negotiation between the two worlds she occupies. Working across different media including photography, installation and sculpture, Red Star will discuss her practice.

Wendy Red Star (BFA from Montana State University and MFA in sculpture, UCLA) currently lives in Portland, Oregon where she is an adjunct professor at Portland State University. Exhibitions include Helen E. Copeland Gallery, Bozeman, Montana; the Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain, Paris; Museum Tower at MOCA, Los Angeles; UCLA New Wight Gallery, Los Angeles; Laura Bartlett Gallery, London; and Luckman Gallery, Los Angeles.

For a recording of Wendy Red Star's lecture, click here MP3, 30.2MB

Session 3 — Wednesday 1 September (at CCP)

Tony Birch
'Red is the Colour': the Archive, the Image, the Word, the Ngamajet

Over the last three years artist Tom Nicholson and writer Tony Birch have shared their interest in the colonial archive and the act of intervention. Recently they collaborated on the project Camp Pell Lecture for Artspace, Sydney. Tony will discuss this and other projects including Duetto, based in part, on a commemoration and recognition of Indigenous Sovereignty and celebration of the life of William Barak.

Dr Tony Birch is a writer, curator and historian, and teaches in the School of Culture and Communication at The University of Melbourne. Tom Nicholson is a Melbourne-based artist and teaches in the Faculty of Art and Design at Monash University.

Session 4 — Wednesday 8 September (at CCP)

Dianne Jones & Anne Maxwell

Artist Dianne Jones discusses her performative use of iconic imagery and academic Anne Maxwell discusses the use of photography in eugenicist propaganda. Chaired by Kate Darian-Smith.

Dianne Jones
The Girl Next Door: In(digenous) Suburbia

Dianne Jones foregrounds the homogeneity of dominant visual ideologies, while creating representations that are inclusive of marginalised bodies and voices. Drawing on family experiences and memory, Jones disrupts stereotypical and racist notions of what constitutes 'Indigeneity'.

Nyoongar artist Dianne Jones lives and works in Melbourne. Her studies include Aboriginal Orientation Course at the University of Western Australia and a Bachelor of Visual Arts, Edith Cowan University, Perth. Recent exhibitions include, Gayme, Counihan Gallery, Brunswick; Lookin' Up, Gorman House Arts Centre, Canberra; Half Light: Portraits from Black Australia, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney. Jones is represented by Niagara Galleries, Melbourne.

For a recording of Dianne Jones' lecture, click here MP3, 10.8MB

Anne Maxwell
Colonialism and Eugenic Photography

This paper examines one of photography's more controversial social applications or performances, its cooption by the eugenics movement, which lasted from 1880 to 1940, when photography was unambiguously thrust into the world of colonial race-based politics.

Dr Anne Maxwell teaches in the School of Culture and Communications at The University of Melbourne. She is the author of Colonial Exhibitions and Photography (Leicester UP, 2000); Picture imperfect Photography and Eugenics 1870-1940 (Sussex Academic Press, 2008); Maoriland Stories by Alfred Grace (Ngaio Press, 2008) and Ethical Evolution: Eugenics and Genetic Engineering in Science Fiction (forthcoming Toronto UP, 2010).

For a recording of Anne Maxwell's lecture, click here MP3, 16.8MB

Session 5 — Wednesday 15 September (at CCP)

Penny Edmonds & Jane Lydon

In their papers Penny Edmonds and Jane Lydon will address issues of Indigenous sovereignty and rights through colonial photography and performances.
Chaired by Kate Darian-Smith.

Penny Edmonds
The Waitangi Treaty Photographic Tableau and the Idea of the 'Maori Magna Carta'

In 1923 a set of photographic tableaux illustrating key historical moments between settlers and Maori peoples in Aotearoa New Zealand was produced. Penny explores this series, in particular Signing the Waitangi Treaty. In this tableau vivant we see how the Treaty was performed as the 'Maori Magna Carta', portraying the apparent transference of English liberties and rights to Maori peoples.

Dr Penny Edmonds is a historian at The University of Melbourne, with research interests in colonial histories, Australian and Pacific-region contact history, and visual culture. Penny is the author of Urbanizing Frontiers: Indigenous Peoples and Settlers in Nineteenth-Century Pacific Rim Cities (UBC Press, 2010).

For a recording of Penny Edmonds' lecture, click here MP3, 12.6MB

Jane Lydon
Bullets, Teeth and Photographs

In 1927 an inquiry into the Forrest River massacre sent shockwaves across Australia. Photographic evidence was tendered to the inquiry: how were these images seen at the time? How should we look at them now? The horrified public preferred to look at more eloquent images of Indigenous suffering. This talk reviews these parallel ways of seeing Aboriginal people and the role of photography in arguing for Indigenous rights.

Dr Jane Lydon is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Australian Indigenous Studies at Monash University. Her books include Eye Contact: Photographing Indigenous Australians (Duke University Press, 2005) and Fantastic Dreaming: The Archaeology of an Aboriginal Mission (Altamira Press, 2009).

For a recording of Jane Lydon's lecture, click here MP3, 10.4MB

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