Art of the Skins: un-silencing and remembering

Art of the Skins: un-silencing and remembering
Art of the Skins: un-silencing and remembering

Principal speaker

Dr Carol McGregor

The Art of the Skins project is an important undertaking-promoting a cultural resurgence that embraces memories, sharing, making and belonging. Research for the project began in 2014 and culminated with the Art of the Skins exhibition at the State Library of Queensland (SLQ) in 2016. The exhibition heralded the re-activation of making and wearing possum skin cloaks in South-East Queensland (SEQ).

In developing research methods Carol McGregor's approach is to use as many Indigenous ways of being, knowing, and doing to develop methodologies that reveal her culture as contemporary, living, and authentic. McGregor found that many questions can only begin to be answered in the act of making. This methodology contributes to an expanded notion of how relevant cultural research-including physical making-is conducted, communicated and incorporated into contemporary cultural practices.

Through methodologies such as deep listening, yarning and by collaborative acts of making, Art of the Skins has demonstrated positive outcomes of transformational relational Indigenous research. McGregor states: "rather than stories being told about us, this project claims and tells stories in our ways-un-silencing, asserting and celebrating our cultures and identity." The Art of the Skins is an ongoing project that is leading to further uncovering and better understandings of Australian Indigenous history. It is contributing to "untelling' and re-inscribing an Aboriginal presence.

Outcomes of this research project have included residencies with the University of Qld Biological Sciences; The Melbourne Museum as the 2015 1854 Scholar; Tokyo University of the Arts; Lighting the Fires at Bundanon Trust, NSW; and with the Kluge Ruhe Aboriginal Gallery, University of Virginia, USA. Exhibitions (or creative publishing) include regional galleries such as Noosa, Gold Coast, Redland, Tamworth, New England, and Canberra; as well as The National Portrait Gallery; DIG, Tokyo; Kluge Ruhe, USA; and The Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada.


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