'Staying with the Trouble' of Representing Land(scape): A Personal, White, Non-Indigenous Response to Ongoing and Everyday Colonisation in Contemporary Australia

Sally Y Molloy, University, My, Ross D Woodrow
2021
This arts-based research project responds to the denial of Indigenous sovereignty and ongoing processes of colonisation in Australia from a white non-Indigenous perspective. The intimate relationship between colonisation and landscape painting is highlighted through identifying a thread of uncertainty, disquiet, doubt, and discomfort in Australian landscape painting history. This establishes a legacy of white non-Indigenous responsiveness to colonisation within which to contextualise my own
more » ... al responses. The cited examples in this legacy routinely distance and depersonalise colonisation in spatial, temporal, and corporeal ways, which omits from consideration the fact that colonisation is an everyday process perpetrated by everyday people living their everyday lives. Analysis of the whiteness studies and white anti-racism discourses laid foundations for my understanding of some of the dilemmas associated with centering 'the personal' in my visual responses to colonisation. Subsequently, utilisng writings by Clare Land and Donna Haraway, I position whiteness as a detail of my specific subjective, locational, and historical situatedness that actually compels, constrains, shapes, informs, binds and limits the nature of my own responses to colonisation. I contend that a personal white non-Indigenous response to colonisation has the capacity to address how colonisation facilitated my existence on stolen Indigenous lands, how colonisation manifests in the shape and appearance of my personal surroundings, and how I sustain colonisation while living my everyday life. Works by contemporary white non-Indigenous artists Mark Shorter, Joan Ross, and Helen Johnson are analysed to reveal what might be described as common strategies for a critical responsiveness to colonisation. Namely: 'critical ambiguity', collage methods, humour and attendance to issues of subjectivity. However, while issues of subjectivity are raised by all three artists, the personal and everyday nature of colonisation is obscured in various ways, which [...]
doi:10.25904/1912/4087 fatcat:ccnbr3usrnh7tlgz6btb7fo4hq