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Determined Sensibilities: Curator Megan Tamati-Quennell and Artists Dale Harding and Brook Garru Andrew in Conversation

Wednesday 23 June, 6pm
Live via Zoom 
Register here

Since early European colonial expansion and imperialist ambitions, Indigenous cultures have been subjected to primitivist Eurocentric thought and labelling. Prolific racist actions, such as the scientific exhibits that flooded museums in the wake of colonial exploits, were used to demonstrate our so-called demise as primitive peoples—largely through the display of our cultural objects and dead ancestors’ bodies. These colonial labels, which still proliferate today, were not determined by us and are at the root of deep misinterpretation. Symptomatic of this is the danger that our art creation today can be too easily attached to these historic forms of racism.

The last few decades have seen an invigorating groundswell of Indigenous communities and peoples in Aotearoa and Australia determining and defining our own museum and academic practices. In addition, museums and galleries have dramatically shifted their policies, methodologies and engagement with Indigenous communities. Indigenous peoples are making firm our own sensibilities—an expression of power on our own terms— which are impacting both museums, the academy and the art market.

Arguably, this has resulted in recognition for Indigenous art; but how do we label it? How is our art framed, described and understood on our terms? Are we now making an impact through creating our own global Indigenous art historical movements and labels? If Western art is connected to movements and markets, both of which define value and worth, how do Indigenous artists feature in these movements? How do we contextualise our work, world view and worth to create something that ensures cultural and artistic autonomy and integrity?

The conversation ‘Determined Sensibilities’ is an opportunity to learn how curator Megan Tamati-Quennell (Te Ātiawa, Ngāi Tahu), Associate Indigenous Curator Contemporary Art, Govett Brewster, New Plymouth and Curator Modern & Contemporary Māori & Indigenous Art, Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand, Wellington, and artist Dale Harding (Bidjara, Ghungalu, Garingbal) practice their own world views. Brook Garru Andrew (Wiradjuri/Celtic), Associate Professor Fine Art, Monash University, will thread and tease out their connections to culture, movements and their own practices.

Images: Megan Tamati-Quennell, courtesy of Te Papa; Dale Harding, photo: Brad Wagner © QAGOMA; Brook Andrew, photo: Jessica Neath.


Megan Tamati-Quennell's visit to Monash is supported by the Wominjeka Djeembana Indigenous research lab, Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture, Monash University.