Tag Archives: Brazil

The Brazilian paradox in Australia

Last night, Brazilian academic and curator Ilana Goldstein explored the Brazilian paradox in the second talk of the Southern Perspectives series. How can a country that embraces racial mixing fail to support Indigenous arts? Why is it that a country like Australia, that takes whiteness as a norm, puts so many resources into developing indigenous creative industries?

Goldstein provoked much discussion. Philip Morrissey, Director of the Indigenous Studies major at Melbourne University, showed great interest in the utopian nature of Brazilian nationalism, but remarked that the Australian model can be seen by some as a form of cultural dispossession. The visiting South African artist Zanela Muhole suggested that this discussion show widen to include the state of indigenous arts in countries like her own.

Here is Ilana Goldstein, anticipating and reflecting on her talk:

Goldstein is founding editor of the journal Proa.

Ilana Goldstein talks about what Brazil might learn from Australian Indigenous arts

Wauja woven mask

Wauja woven mask

Looking from outside, Australia has been extraordinarily successful in developing an Indigenous cultural industry. This is particularly evident in painting, but is also present in other areas – craft, dance, film and music.

The situation is different in many other countries of the South. The regional cultures of Africa, Pacific and Latin America are quite rich, but the role of Indigenous artists is more marginal than in Australia. There are extremely few Indigenous artists exhibiting their work in Brazil. There are no Mapuche professional dance troupes in Chile. There no school of Khoi-San desert painting in South Africa.

Does the experience of Indigenous arts in Australia have something to offer other countries of the South? And what might these other countries have to give in return? What would be the best means of setting up this kind of exchange? How might this exchange further develop Indigenous arts in Australia? How does a southern exchange differ from the profiling of Indigenous art in centres such as the Musée de Quai Branly in Paris?

The session will explore these questions with a visiting academic from São Paulo, Brazil – Ilana Goldstein. Goldstein is in Australia with the task of understanding how the Australian model might be applied to Indigenous communities in Brazil such as the Tupi. The session will take the form of a conversation about what Australia and Latin American countries might have to share in Indigenous cultures.

Talk by Ilana Goldstein, UNICAMP – Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Brazil

Response by Philip Morrissey, Academic Coordinator of the Australia Indigenous Studies program at the University of Melbourne, will be a respondent.

Event details

Ilana Goldstein ‘From Papunya to Rio: the model of Australian Indigenous art across the South’
Wednesday 31 March 2010, 7:30-9:00pm
Institute of Postcolonial Studies
78-80 Curzon Street
North Melbourne (map)
Tel: 03 9329 6381
Admission – $5 for waged, $3 for unwaged, and free for members