Value and cultural voice in Australian Aboriginal textiles

Ruben, Bobbie, Naylor, Stephen, and McDonald, Malcolm (2020) Value and cultural voice in Australian Aboriginal textiles. Textile: Cloth and Culture. (In Press)

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Abstract

Screen-printed textiles from remote Australian Aboriginal communities are a widely acclaimed and celebrated form of cultural expression. They bring substantial benefits to artists and their communities. This paper describes research that examines ways in which textiles are understood and valued in the context of their collaborative intercultural development whilst also examining “cloth” as a unique creative medium for conveying cultural narratives. Australia’s colonial past may cast subsequent intercultural collaboration in a negative light. However, this paper proposes the hypotheses that non-Indigenous collaborative contribution to textile creation does not diminish the power of this work for artists; nor does it lessen the cultural meaning and value of the ancestral stories portrayed. An additional interrelated hypothesis holds that cloth carries a cultural voice in a way that other forms of cultural production cannot. Yet the journey taken by these textiles is precarious. “Industry” can undervalue the cultural narratives and potentially expose Aboriginal screen-printed textiles to commercial misuse. A proposed qualitative research investigation will test the hypotheses, with a focus on how textiles are understood and valued by artists who create the work and by key participants along their journey.

Item ID: 63510
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1751-835
Keywords: Aboriginal textiles, cloth, culture, screen-printing, intercultural collaboration, authenticity, value
Copyright Information: © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2020 05:53
FoR Codes: 19 STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 1905 Visual Arts and Crafts > 190599 Visual Arts and Crafts not elsewhere classified @ 50%
20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2002 Cultural Studies > 200201 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Studies @ 50%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9501 Arts and Leisure > 950104 The Creative Arts (incl. Graphics and Craft) @ 34%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9502 Communication > 950201 Communication Across Languages and Culture @ 33%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9502 Communication > 950205 Visual Communication @ 33%
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