'Antipodean bestiary: Reconstructions of native fauna and national identity in the work of eleven contemporary artists

Cininas, J 2008, ''Antipodean bestiary: Reconstructions of native fauna and national identity in the work of eleven contemporary artists', Philosophy Activism Nature, vol. 5, pp. 21-39.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title 'Antipodean bestiary: Reconstructions of native fauna and national identity in the work of eleven contemporary artists
Author(s) Cininas, J
Year 2008
Journal name Philosophy Activism Nature
Volume number 5
Start page 21
End page 39
Total pages 19
Publisher RMIT Publishing
Abstract Australian native animals have inhabited the realm of invention in the Western imagination ever since the first platypus specimen was sent to England and declared a hoax. The very singularity of our native fauna reinforced Australia's remoteness from the 'home' countries, both physically and culturally. This uniqueness has also seen Australian animals readily - and conspicuously - serve as embodiments of national identity and pride, but as Australians reconsider their place on the world stage, especially in light of the global increase in environmental awareness, their relationship with their most prominent 'ambassadors' has also come under revision. This essay draws on the themes and issues raised by eleven contemporary Australian visual artists, from a broad range of disciplines, who participated in the group exhibition Antipodean Bestiary at RMIT Project Space/Spare Room in 2007. Spanning indigenous culture and early colonial history through multicultural immigrations to contemporary 'larrikinism', environmentalism, and eco-nationalism, artists Jazmina Cininas, Annette Cook, Marian Drew, Rona Green, Rew Hanks, Danie Mellor, James Morrison, Geoffrey Ricardo, Heather Shimmen, Julia Silvester and Jacqui Stockdale highlight the rising profile of Australian native animals in contemporary art practice and renegotiate the myriad roles native fauna have played in shaping a national identity.
Subject Cultural Studies not elsewhere classified
Fine Arts (incl. Sculpture and Painting)
Keyword(s) Contemporary art practice
native animals and national identity
Copyright notice © 2008 RMIT Publishing
ISSN 1443-6124
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