1. Aboriginal Art

    December 3, 2023 by Maya G.

    Driving Question:

    How can I showcase my understanding of aboriginal culture through my own original aboriginal inspired art piece?

    Project Summary:

    With a deep admiration for Aboriginal art and a passion for creating art herself, Maya G. undertook a personal project on the topic of Aboriginal art, exploring the fine line between appreciation and appropriation.

    Maya’s project was driven by the question of how she could showcase her understanding of Aboriginal culture through her own Aboriginal-inspired artwork. Despite reaching out to various museums, artists, organizations, and communities, she received no responses or insights from them. This lack of external input underscored the importance of recognizing two critical points: first, that her art was not truly hers but the work of Aboriginal people and their culture; and second, that her artwork was not for profit but solely for her own educational purposes.

    To create her piece, Maya engaged in several steps. She visited museums and cultural sites in Melbourne to understand how Aboriginal people create and talk about their art. She then focused on three main components: storytelling, symbols, and outlines and drafts. For storytelling, she chose to depict her family history, which was personal and meaningful to her. In terms of symbols, she researched and incorporated various Aboriginal symbols used to represent maps, dreamtimes, and real places. She then created multiple drafts to accurately represent her family’s history, ensuring the final product was both colorful and meaningful.

    Maya’s final artwork depicted her family lineage, with generations represented and significant symbols integrated to show the passage of time and the presence of her ancestors. She included the Sun and Moon to symbolize the passage of time and stars to represent deceased family members watching over her. Despite the personal significance of the piece, Maya concluded that it should not be considered Aboriginal art because she is not an Aboriginal artist. She emphasized that non-Aboriginal creations labeled as Aboriginal art undermine the authenticity and cultural heritage of true Aboriginal art.

    To symbolize her understanding and respect for Aboriginal culture, Maya ultimately chose to destroy her artwork. This act was a statement against the appropriation of Aboriginal art by non-Aboriginal artists, reinforcing the importance of preserving the authenticity and cultural integrity of Aboriginal art.

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