Very Becoming: Transforming Our Settler Selves in Occupied Australia

in Testimony and Trauma
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Abstract

In Australia the ontological position of the Occupier has rendered the collective memory of invasion and occupation faulty or forgotten. Today it manifests in a lack of will by Settler Australians to engage with the devastating effects of our denial of Indigenous sovereignty upon Indigenous communities. In re-thinking a way to be non-Indigenous Australians that has integrity and rejects an Occupier subject position unconditionally, questions of ontology must be addressed. We must ask ourselves about the very nature of our Being, in relation to the land we claim as ours and we must wonder that we have few troubling thoughts or memories nor memorials to tweak our consciences. What strategies can we employ to open up such questions? As an artist of white Settler origins I suggest that the sensory and emotional experience rendered through visual art can create a space to bring into existence new ways of thinking and of being in Australia. Critically engaged non-Indigenous artists have the opportunity to make a cultural space, through their art practices, for robust public discourse acknowledging Indigenous sovereignty and the promise it holds for all of us.

Testimony and Trauma

Engaging Common Ground

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