Culture First: A Symposium at ACCA

Indigenous curators and writers Paola Balla, Hannah Donnelly, Léuli Eshraghi and Kimberley Moulton spoke about their work and reflected upon specific models of decolonial art and curatorial practice at a panel hosted by ACCA.  

‘We need to re-inscribe ourselves back into these spaces…we need to be heard, seen, listened to.’

‘I write it in English to communicate to others who are also living under European world views and the legacy of colonialism’

‘I am an uninvited guest here on un-ceded territory…on these indigenous territories known as Australia’

‘the necessity of challenging the structural Eurocentrism in Australian arts institutions…the importance of expanding and transforming curatorial practices to foreground indigenous perspective and voice; a new curatorial mode grounded in collaboration and dialogue, and built on collective co-authorship’

‘we position all non-indigenous peoples as migrants and diasporic’

‘to rewrite/end/erase histories’

‘If I were to choose a single word to describe my art practice it would be the word- question. If I were to choose a single word to describe my underlying drive it would be freedom. This should not be regarded as a heroic proclamation.  Freedom is a practice. It is a way of thinking in other ways to those we have become accustomed to. Freedom is never assured by the laws and institutions that are intended to guarantee it. To be free is to be able to question the way power is exercised, disputing claims to domination. Such questioning involves our ethos, our ways of being, or becoming who we are. To be free we must be able to question the ways our history defines us.’   Gordon Bennett, 1996

‘spaces of indigeneity, not simply for indigeneity’

‘challenge the history of the museum – how they have represented us in the past. decolonise the space’

‘subvert musological practice that does not consider/is not for indigenous peoples’

‘speaking in language’

‘our mother tongue has been denied us. our language has been genocided’

‘matriarchal spaces’

‘intersectional knowledges’

‘is the aim to decolonise?’

‘how can we decolonise when the space is not premised on indigenous sovereignty?’

‘we need to speak a new language; decolonisation is not possible’

‘it becomes a decolonial aesthetic rather than a decolonial practice’

‘how do you maintain radical self-care?’

‘we cannot pursue decolonisation from within a western framework’

‘humanity is only a function of the earth’



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