Art that changes perspectives and beliefs
For history student Katie Marshall, the Indigenous collection at Flinders University Museum of Art (FUMA) is full of unique, valuable, and powerful voices.
“There is no better way to learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues than to listen to those voices, and often there is no more powerful way to communicate what those voices are saying than through art,” says Katie.
Her interest in FUMA’s collections was piqued by a visit to the on-campus art museum last year as part of the history topic, The Lucky Country?, with lecturer Catherine Kevin.
“I found several artworks that helped me to learn about and understand pieces of Australian history that I previously knew nothing about.” This included the Maralinga nuclear tests and Aboriginal domestic slavery.
Katie was particularly captivated by Yhonnie Scarce’s work White Out, which she says wielded enormous emotional power over her.
The work consists of four blown glass pieces shaped to resemble bush yams. The pieces are bound tightly in white twine, obscuring the glass objects from view.
Katie observed that, despite all the efforts to disguise the underlying clear glass objects, there were still gaps in between the thread where they could be seen.
“Aboriginal culture cannot be defeated by however much ‘whiteness’ has been forced upon it. It will always shine through, beautiful and crystal clear.”
History student Katie Marshall believes art has the power to change lives.
Katie says this was the first time she understood “whiteness” as being pervasive in our culture.
“Australian culture as we understand it is essentially white culture, and we make little time to understand Aboriginal perspectives, without belittling them or dismissing them as unimportant.
“White Australia is a racist establishment, and it takes a lot to look within and understand that as a white Australian you’re part of that.”
Learning about our past through the FUMA collections has had a large impact on Katie and the way she sees the world. She believes art has the power to change lives and build a better future for all Australians.
“Art often speaks to us in a way that words can’t. It can evoke powerful feelings that can change perspectives and beliefs,” says Katie.
If you share our mission for change, please donate today so that FUMA can grow its collection of unique, valuable, and powerful voices that help to fill the gaps in understanding our past, as we move towards a better future.
100% of your tax-deductible donation will support Flinders University Museum of Art.
Flinders University Museum of Art (FUMA) is generously supported by people who share the belief that art matters.
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Flinders University Museum of Art
Flinders University I Sturt Road I Bedford Park SA 5042
Located ground floor Social Sciences North building, Humanities Road adjacent carpark 5
Telephone | +61 (08) 8201 2695
Email | firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday to Friday | 10am - 5pm or by appointment
Thursdays | Until 7pm
Closed weekends and public holidays
Flinders University Museum of Art is wheelchair accessible, please contact us for further information.
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