We acknowledge the passing of Professor Jonathan Mane-Wheoki, who made such as significant contribution to the establishment of art history from a Māori perspective.
- Tasmanian photographers Olegas Truchanas and Peter Dombrovskis created a bridge to nature
- Bea Maddock’s etching Terra Spiritus circumnavigates Tasmania replacing European names with local versions, using ochre pigments
- Julie Gough’s exhibition Lost World, Part 1 and Part 2
- Elizabeth Lada Gray compared Tasmania and Tierra del Fuego.
- Natasha Cica’s Think Tent sits ten people, with selected guest speakers that engage with public for an hour at a time.
- Justine Shoulder club based community artist, located in space between dance floor and garden. Animist creatures that possess him. Had big commission from Performance Space.
- The book Pride Against Prejudice by Ida West is an important contribution to reconciliation
- Local council road signs for Mount Wellington as kunanyi
South is an important identity for Tasmania. At the bottom of the world, it offers a space for alternative activities that slip below the radar, that might otherwise not be possible in the metropolis. On the other hand, however, it has become a marketing term with romantic associations useful for selling gourmet food and tourist experiences. It was said: ‘Underlying this is a murmur in the back of our minds about a paradise lost that can be regained.’ There is potential to engage with other Souths. Singapore, for instance, has a complex relationship to the North. In such centres, one can feel that one should replicate models located in the North in order to develop. This creates a counter argument for the importance of local referents. The roundtable revisited a proposal that Greg Lehman and Jim Everett developed as part of the South 1 event in 2004. The idea for the Museum of Southern Memory emerged originally as a response to the work of Marcelo Brodsky in Argentina, who documented the memories kept alive of those who were disappeared during the military dictatorship in the 1980s. There seemed an important role for an institution that could house those memories which need to be kept alive. It was said, ‘Tasmania is part of the geo-political South of Australia. One aspect is that after the colonial tsunami has washed over and retreated, it wipes away native cultures and people.’ The proposed museum would share Tasmania’s experience of loss and recovery with other parts of the South. It could be a museum towards which any visitor might feel they could make a contribution. As well as including stories of victims, there is potential to also include non-literate techniques for memorialisation, such as knotting. This was highly developed in the practice of quipu as a form of record keeping in Inca Peru. In general, the table agreed on the importance of maintaining multiple perspectives. The binary identity of indigenous and non-indigenous did not reflect the way in which we are all products of a colonial mindset and we all have a potential relation to place. The group will continue to work on the idea of a Museum of Southern Memory, eventually with input from other voices in the South. Present:
- Lucy Bleach
- Emma Bugg
- Fernando do Campo
- Gary Carsley
- Liz Charpleix
- Dean Chatwin
- James Dryburgh
- Michael Edwards
- Peter Hughes
- Maria Kunda
- Fiona Lee
- Greg Lehman
- Nancy Mauro-Flude
- Victor Medrano
- Kevin Murray
- John Vella (born in Blacktown)
- Mairi Ward
Julie Gough The Lost World (part 2), 2013 Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge, and CAT (Contemporary Art Tasmania) (Solo exhibition) Curated by Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll Design by Christoph Balzar Technical design by Ronald Haynes and Mark Sheppard +23 October – +30 November 2013 Project URL: CAT (Contemporary Art Tasmania), http://www.contemporaryarttasmania.org/program/the-lost-world-part-2 Project URL: Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge http://maa.cam.ac.uk/maa/the-lost-world-part-2/
On the morning of Thursday 27 February, 24 people gathered in Wellington to discuss how we can give art away. This roundtable was part of Kete, a biannual craft fair organised by the NZ Academy of the Arts. It was also the first in a series of meeting in South Ways, a project to identify and develop forms of creative practice that have a particular home in the South.
Wellington was an important place to begin this discussion (see background of the key word Bestow). It is the location of Te Papa, a museum whose brief involves the care for precious taonga, Māori treasures deserving special respect for their connection with ancestors and tribal life. It is also the site of vibrant artistic scene, including a community of contemporary jewellers who operate outside the gallery system. The roundtable was a space to stories from both sides about the dynamics involved in gifting art objects. Emerging from this are ideas for platforms that might support this practice.Art that is given carries a meaning that is different to art that is bought and sold. How can we make a space for this while acknowledging our dependence on money to survive in the current world?
Here is a summary of the discussion:
The art of give and take
Gifting is an important means of creating relationships, particularly in Māori culture. The practice of koha cements relationships within iwi and between generations. For koha and other gifting practices, much depends not only the attitude of the giver, but also on the way it is received.
For contemporary jewellers, gifting and exchange has become an important means of sustaining its community of fellow artists. Newly emerging social practitioners are seeking to expand the circle of gifting to include the general public. This offers a counterpoint to the process of commodification that continues to deplete the public domain.
The issue they face is the potential lack of control over the disposition of the public. The danger is that these gifts are seen as ‘freebies’. A challenge is to find frameworks in which objects might circulate into the public domain without too quickly being absorbed into private consumption. It is important to create spaces that involve mutual respect between audience and artist.
Proposal for a Festival
One way of framing the event so that strangers might be open to a gift is to declare a certain number of days when people are encouraged to give and receive gifts. These gifts would be tokens of connection rather than consumer goods. This has potential to enliven a city, making inhabitants more aware of each other. They can also create solidarity for particular causes or groups. This Festival could be supported by a city such as Wellington so that artists would be paid to set up participatory projects in which:
- members of public would wear items of jewellery walking through the city
- jewellery that was made from the city
- jewellery made for the city
Some general points from the roundtable:
- A gift can involve extreme honesty. They can be loaded with meaning from the giver and responsibility from the receiver. Sometimes they can even stand in for the person who gave them.
- Gifts have a ripple effect.
The receiver can have important responsibility. For example, in 1922 the Prince of Wales was given a Mere Pounamu presented with the blade first as a sign of kaupaki to establish an ongoing relationship. The idea was that it would be given back, which the Prince failed to appreciate.
There is the money market and Māori market. Less important things are made for money.
- Māori are very generous.
- Koha cements relationships. It helps keep the relationship a living one.
- It isn’t the object, it is the spirit in which it is given.
- The word koha relates to oha ti, or someone’s last words. This is a message of generosity as part of our very being.
- Koha is reciprocal. There’s a message that goes with it, an instruction of some sort
- It can’t be too small or too big.
- Gifts are ways of marking a particular moment.
- They can wait for a long time before reciprocation.
- Gifts mark connection to this place. It can be important for new-comers to feel at home here.
- The principles of koha are now taught in New Zealand tertiary institutions, involving a visit to a marae.
- There is a very strong sense of community in New Zealand’s contemporary jewellery scene.
- But there is a need to challenge this by broadening its audience to include people outside contemporary jewellery.
- The social practitioner is an artist who develops connections between people through art works and objects. A number of contemporary jewellers could be seen to be working in this way now too.
- It involves making art available to everyone. Support for this is gained from both museums and social agencies.
- It can be informed by Buddhist principle of being effective in the world
- Sometimes it is important to lend rather than give objects. In that way there is less focus on the object itself and more how it opens up the world around you.
- Given the lack of saleable product, for some it can involve going to the path of a monastery. This could be living on home-grown vegies in the Coromandels.
- But there is a danger of an audience that doesn’t respect the art offered as gift. This is sometimes encouraged by the ‘art as fun park’ attitude encouraged by recent biennale culture.
Existing projects in New Zealand
- Cuckoo a New Zealand artist collective that organise events in other institutions according to a principle that no money is ever involved
- Host a Brooch
- See Here
- Organisation that brokers spaces for artists to work in vacant shopfronts
- Crowd-funding not so relevant in New Zealand because people aren’t as wealthy as in Australia
- Cooperative where members would pay an annual fee to borrow works by artists and jewellers
Andrew Last; Birgit Moffatt; Carol Mayer; Deborah Donnelly; Elsa Krasniansky; Helen Donnelly; Huhana Smith; Jacqui Chan; Joanna Mere Branthwaite; Johanna Zellmer; Katheryn Yeats; Kevin Murray; Kohai Grace; Laura Porterhouse; Matthew Wilson; Megan Tamati-Quennell; Owen Mapp; Peter Deckers; Richard Reddaway; Sandra Alfoldy; Sarah Read; Tiffany Singh; Vivien Atkinson; Yenji Chen.
This is paper by Pamela Zeplin was presented in the panel ‘Cultural production: Where to put baskets in an art gallery? ‘The place of traditional cultures in art history’, which was part of Other Views: Art History in (South) Africa and the Global South, a colloquium organised by SAVAH under the aegis of the Comité International d’Histoire de l’Art (CIHA), University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 12 – 15 January 2011
Geographically and historically situated ‘south of the west’, Australian art institutions are yet to fully embrace Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultures of the global south, despite recent incursions into the Asia-Pacific region. Notwithstanding claims to cultural inclusivity, Melbourne’s 2008 CIHA Congress, for example, barely registered the presence of Diasporic African, Pacific Island and Latin American communities dwelling in this island continent. It was as if the South Project, another significant local initiative with international cross-cultural reach, had slipped below CIHA’s Eurocentric horizon. With a visionary five year program interrogating conceptual and geo-political understandings of ‘south’, The South Project was last sighted somewhere between Yogyakarta and Noumea, although it is rumoured to be still in existence. This ambitious endeavour was inevitably doomed by idealism as it journeyed between Santiago and Soweto, Melbourne, Wellington and Yogyakarta with its ‘cargo’ of lateral connections between art and craft communities, exhibitions, workshops, residencies and gatherings. Surprisingly, these peripatetic events attracted little critical attention, despite initiating a complex web of weird and wonderful events and relationships. The paper critically examines this program as a possible alternative to biennale models of ‘exchange’ and ruminates on the South Project’s remains.
Dr Pamela Zeplin is a writer and artist based in Adelaide, where she is Portfolio Leader of Postgraduate Research Education (Art, Architecture & Design) at the University of South Australia. With a long-standing research focus in regional cultures in the Asia-Pacific and southern hemisphere, Pamela regularly publishes and actively participates in national and international events throughout the region. In 2005 and 2006 she delivered plenary addresses at South Project gatherings in Wellington and Santiago. With Dr. Paul Sharrad in 2009, Pamela convened a funded national workshop, The Big Island: Promoting Contemporary Pacific Art and Craft in Australia at the University of Wollongong, resulting in Art Monthly Australia’s landmark ‘OzPacifica’ edition, specifically devoted to Australian Pacific art. In 2008 Pamela received a national Distinguished Researcher Award from the Australian Council of University Art and Design Schools.
First of all, I’d like to acknowledge the Indigenous owners of this land upon and thank the SAVAH team for such a welcoming and stimulating environment.
Where to put baskets in an art gallery?Before I ruminate on the ruins – or otherwise – of The South Project, let’s begin with baskets since my paper has migrated to this panel, Where to put baskets in an art gallery?’ from the now abandoned panel ‘Interrogating the Global South ‘. During this process, the following discussion become a more personalised and ‘basketised’ narrative – that has loosened a few strands during the process.
This photograph shows Pacific Storms, a ground breaking 2009 exhibition in Australia of work by artists from the Pacific-Oceania neighbourhood and those of Pacific heritage resident in the world’s largest continental island, Australia. You will notice the baskets and also numerous other weavings festooning Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery in northern Queensland alongside contemporary art; photographs, videos, paintings, and poetry texts.
Although no longer fresh and lush, these fibre textiles remain as more than dehydrated relics of performative opening ceremonies; they represent lingering testimony to creative expression that can be participatory, cross-disciplinary and multi-dimensional in nature – including, notably, children’s furniture and programs actively inviting art and play.
So, you might wonder, what is so groundbreaking among the textiles here? Firstly, Pacific Storms represented a rare exhibition of contemporary Oceanic – and predominantly ‘Melanesian’ – art in this country, even though 400,000 of its population (or2%) are of Pacific Islander heritage.Secondly, this landmark exhibition took place not in a major institution, like Queensland Art Gallery, renowned for the Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art but in a regional gallery in rural northern Queensland. Thirdly, baskets are not generally encountered in Australia’s sharp and shiny art world unless they form part of an Indigenous – generally Australian Indigenous –exhibition. So there’s something significant happening here – something about generosity, conviviality, hospitality, inclusiveness. Perhaps, even ‘relational aesthetics’, although this recently ‘discovered’ art ‘fashion’ features less as a rationale for curator of Pacific Storms’ Papua New Guinean-Australian, Joycelin Leahy, than ‘the Pacific way’ things are done in this part of the global south. Ironically, few Australians, including art cognoscenti, have had access to these indigenous and ‘southern’ ways of knowing – and presenting – given our continued reverence for northerly trans-Atlantic models of knowledge production.
In fact, the Pacific region has long been considered Australia’s ‘backyard’ and in political, economic and cultural terms, a place of tacky tourism – and/or tornadoes and trouble. And, until 2007 with the Rudd Labor Government’s revised regional foreign policy, the Oceanic/Pacific region was collectively regarded by Australian governments post 1975 as a ‘basket case’.
CIHA 32nd Congress
This near invisibility of Pacific and southern hemisphere art and culture still characterises major art events, including the prestigious ‘parent’ body of this Colloquium, CIHA International Committee of the History of Art, although yesterday’s comments by CIHA committee members addresses gave us cause for hope. CIHA’s so-called ‘ground-breaking’ 2008 32nd Congress in Melbourne, Crossing Cultures: Congress, Conflict, Migration and Convergence aimed to ‘to make people of different nationalities engage in debate’ and was declared by convenor (and now CIHA President), Professor Jaynie Anderson as the ’first meeting of an international congress of the history of art in the southern hemisphere [to] epitomiz[e] the expansion of the field throughout the globe’.
Whether or not this claim can be validated, this ‘Art History Olympics’ certainly made an impact on Australian art historians, attracting almost 700 registrations from 50 countries. With one exception, however, among 226 presentations, including 42% of papers from Australia and 10% (22) from ‘other’ Southern Hemisphere countries, the only ‘Pacific’ featured was in two presentations of New Zealand’s – not Australia’s – urban ‘Pasifika’. Moreover, only four Australian Indigenous speakers presented amongst 74 Australian papers, although many of these concerned issues of indigeneity. There were two speakers from ‘Africa’ (South Africa and Cameroon), a country not, however, considered an ‘appropriate’ location for the next full CIHA Congress (to be held in Nuremburg in 2012). This decision catalysed the staging of the Johannesburg colloquium, which was endorsed by CIHA following the Melbourne event, but not financially assisted by the international ‘parent’ body.
Astonishingly, the Melbourne-based South Project’s intensive four year dialogue across the Southern Hemisphere did not appear on the Melbourne Congress’ agenda, where neither baskets nor wider craft discourses were apparent. For all CIHA’s cross-cultural claims, at $AUD660 (R4454) many attendees expressed disappointment at the congress’ elitist and inhospitable environment. Eurocentrism dies hard, it seems, even in the highest echelons of well-intentioned art history.
South Project & ‘The Basket’
The South Project, on the other hand, by 2008 had demonstrated over five years that art gatherings – even conferences- can be about more than a schedule of topics. Although Pacific Storms was not part of The South Project, it might well have been; its spirit embodied much of what this enduring Melbourne-based endeavour successfully achieved. And baskets and weavings provide appropriate metaphors for both Pacific Storms and The South Project; traditionally crafted within social and performative story-telling situations, baskets are containers with capacity for plenitude, exchange and countless uses. Woven from diverse materials and designs, baskets are strong, porous and receptive and nothing if not portable. Importantly, like the South Project, they are not intended to last forever.
A combination of Indigenous and non-Indigenous ‘basket cultures’ as well as contemporary art informed by cross-cultural social and political engagement, provided the architectural structure of The South Project. This was envisioned in and for the most culturally conscious of Australian cities – Melbourne. By 2003 this city was, ironically, ‘sliding off the international art map’ without an ongoing biennale or triennial event. The South Project intended to fill this void but in a radically lateral rather than vertical direction so as to explore the possibilities offered by south-south transactions. In an Australian art climate unsympathetic to localism or craft, this project challenged and enlarged understandings of what ‘south’ could signify within and beyond its Eurocentric contexts. ‘South’ was thus situated by this new organisation as much as ‘a question as a location’, where attitude’ mattered as much as ‘latitude’ .
A unique, highly ambitious, and visionary program, The South Project was inaugurated in 2004 by Kevin Murray with manager, Magdalena Moreno under the auspices of the Craft Victoria organisation. It was carefully developed through personal professional networks cultivated over time. This enterprise encompassed a vast practitioner-based program comprising Indigenous and non-Indigenous craftspersons, artists, writers, curators, scholars, and social activists, thickly intertwining a continuous web of exchanges, exhibitions, residencies, symposia, workshops and publications across different places and times in – and beyond – the Antipodes. Significantly, until 2009 a highly developed children’s program, Southkids provided an essential and ongoing component of South Project’s broader endeavour, enabling children across the Southern Hemisphere to work with professional visual arts and craftspersons. With the exception of a few Australian state art galleries (namely Queensland Art Gallery), the acknowledgement of children as an integral part of the project was remarkable at this time.
South 1 Gathering
Launched in Melbourne in 2004 with miniscule staff resources and a proposed five year lifespan, The South Project stimulated conversations between artists and communities of the south whether defined by hemisphere or by concept. These dialogues might be visual, verbal, tactile or textual, embracing different shapes, textures and tones. The inaugural gathering with hundreds of delegates was astounding.
In a conventional auditorium with workshop spaces, a dazzling diversity of Indigenous and non-Indigenous ‘southerners’ from fourteen countries came together to re-imagine possibilities for weaving previously un-dreamed of connections. ‘South 1’, in Susan Cochrane’s words, ‘encouraged all kinds of responses: philosophical and whimsical, creative and conceptual, contesting and renewing ideas, in the first gathering of its kind’. Presentations ranged from Aboriginal Australian weavers and writers and Rapa Nui (Easter Island) artists lamenting their lost language, to Argentinian activists witnessing for the politically ‘disappeared’, community architects from South Africa and Antarctic voyagers. Taking its cue from Mbulelo Mzamane’s inspiring keynote address, an extraordinary spirit of ‘ubuntu’ suffused the event. This atmosphere transformed a conference into an intensely moving and uplifting experience where delegates (even art historians!) openly wept and embraced during the closing ceremony; for those attending it felt like re-uniting with family.
While The South Project continued to catalyse numerous strands of diverse and intersecting activity, by 2005 its annual gatherings began literally weaving their way across southern latitudes. Wellington (New Zealand) hosted the first gathering outside Australia (administered by the Melbourne South Project team collaborating with local hosts). From this South Western Pacific location, the next South Project travelled to the South Eastern Pacific, to Santiago (Chile) in 2006, and in 2007 to Soweto/Johannesburg, this last event organised locally by Clifford Charles and team, with support from Melbourne staff.For me, the highlight of this event was the Southkids workshop at Belle Primary School in Orlando West, Soweto, particularly the way these kids came back for more, ‘crashing’ South Project’s adult craft workshops at Uncle Tom’s Community Centre the next day. Such an intrusion by children would be unthinkable in my country. At the kids’ workshop I met Muelo Lebenya, an artist volunteer working at the school who constructed ‘baskets’ from recycled vinyl LP records. I returned to the school four days before this Colloquium to find it dramatically expanded and now renamed Mbuyisa Makhubu Primary School, after the young man who was photographed holding Hector Pieterson, the twelve year old school child martyred during the 1976 Soweto Uprising.
Following this South Project imbizo, the Melbourne-based organisation was re-structured under Interim Director, Magdalena Moreno and a new board since Murray’s resignation as Director of Craft Victoria in early 2008. Murray continued involvement with South Project activities, including the 2008 Johannesburg/Soweto Imbizo. Nevertheless, the organisation separated from its former craft base at Craft Victoria via an ‘exit strategy’ as part of a new corporate makeover. Up to this point, a new prospectus recorded that between 2006 and 2007 alone, 84 events had attracted audiences of 33,000 in addition to 227,000 website visits.
Time does not permit a detailed analytical or theoretical account of South Project’s major gatherings, its related programs, myriad partner organisations and participants – let alone its lively internal politics. Suffice to say this organisation’s multiple parameters and ever-expanding connections had become a complex weave of intersecting and pulsating nodes between people, ideas and objects around the globe, and from many reports, anecdotes and statistics, a generative and useful platform for practitioner exchange.
Instead of South Project’s grand finale originally planned for 2008, a focus group style of symposium in Melbourne was assembled where d a Yogyakarta Gathering was proposed for 2009, ‘the intention of [which was] above all COLLABORATIVE, RECIPROCAL AND OF ACTIVATION’. This was to be followed by a grand triennial South Festival for 2010, ’focus[ing] on Melbourne as a cultural hub’, after which would be a Pacific gathering in francophone New Caledonia in 2011 and from thence to Rio de Janeiro in 2012. This ambitiously expanded schedule was, however, not to be, despite being set out in a glossy prospectus polished with corporate language describing KPI deliverables, ‘cultural capital brand[ing]’ and an impressive ‘investment logic map’. Significantly, the word craft seldom appeared in the document and, apart from two images of weavers, baskets were not to be seen. Metaphorically speaking, The South Project ‘basket’ of multiple dimensions had been stitched up and hermetically sealed – economically, politically and culturally.Notwithstanding South Project’s elaborate new strategic plan, the organisation was, surprisingly, soon de-funded by major institutional sponsors and the 2009 gathering in Yogyakarta (Indonesia) proceeded with almost no financial support. What went wrong? The World Financial Crisis? Too many Festivals? Too much Melbourne focus? Not enough Pacific focus? More likely, the following factors played a role in the project’s demise: a lack of critical review coverage by external arts writers and an efficient but extraordinarily demanding administrative structure that was constantly required to be on the move between Melbourne and ‘field’ locations across the South. A call for donations went out across the networks in 2009. But not all was lost; such was the loyalty engendered by The South Project that most Yogyakarta-bound artists self-funded their participation, unlike other waged participants/curators long associated with the South Project who withdrew. As Zara Stanhope has noted: I think people are hungry to get out and experience those other cultures…And artists do it so well. They go off and live on the smell of an oily rag to have those experiences”. Despite – or because of – a severe paucity of resources, a down-to-earth exchange took place in Yogyakarta. Here, local Indonesian artists politely but firmly challenged the privileged cultural naïveté of a number of [inappropriately selected] emerging artists, predominantly from Melbourne, whose steep learning curves offered valuable opportunities to learn about ‘real’ relational aesthetics away from the theorised and insulated precincts of familiar urban art spaces at home. The event became a grass roots encounter on concrete floors, grass and cyberspace in a city where craft plays a significant role in contemporary art and life. Ironically, baskets as well as designer T-shirts were for sale in the main exhibiting venue, Kedai Kebun contemporary art space, which epitomises Indonesian artists’ necessary capacity for resourcefulness.
‘Four days of four hour long improvised performance culminating in Kraton tea ceremony complete with furniture music/hand made instruments, live call to prayer, crickets. Frogs, bejak, medicinal root vegetables, and sugar-powered gong sculpture, various field recordings from bali and Jogjakarta, aquarium equipment, found materials, etc. ‘ [sic].
Yogyakarta exchanges continued via a small post-event exhibition and residencies in Melbourne, while independent collaborative projects initiated in Yogya have maintained momentum, even without external funding. In Australia, this is unusual in assisted cross-cultural projects.
‘On ruins one can begin to build. Anyhow, looking out from ruins one clearly sees; there are no obstructing walls’. (Dame Rose Macaulay)
In terms of its past ambitious range and scale of activities, The South Project may now appear as ‘ruins’ but it continues to facilitate south-south and multicultural projects, all be they in reduced capacity through online networks linked with, for a time, a small alternative gallery in a Melbourne shopping mall. In this way, contemporary visual artists rather than craft practitioners have continued to characterise the program’s curatorial focus, which, it may be argued, has contributed to the organisations’ diminished social texture and following.
I had intended to lament the unfortunate demise of this remarkable phenomenon known as The South Project. It has been an important part of my life since 2004 but after six years I realise I probably need to get over it and continue researching in and of the south – including the Australian Pacific – in different ways. In any case, strong links have been established through various South Project activities between many people and these continue to be maintained – as the Yogyakarta experience demonstrated, outside the structures of a facilitating organisation. It is remarkable, nevertheless, that such a nimble and dynamic venture could continue to be relevant and exciting over such a long period of time. At this event in Johannesburg and elsewhere I am reminded, in meeting up with previous South Project participants, of how those initial professional and personal connections can and do remain engaged through the South Project ‘Diaspora’ – with or without a capital G Gathering.Thus it’s appropriate to conclude with this 2008 image of Taman Sari (Water Palace) ruins in Yogyakarta following one of a number of recent major earthquakes, A year after this photograph was taken Yogyakarta was the site of The South Project’s final gathering ‘abroad’. Here and in previous gatherings this organisation provided remarkable models for consideration of what Domenico de Clario refers to as ‘southness’: ‘It follows’, he suggests, ‘ that we must turn our attention to the quality of what constitutes our immediate reality, and love it more and better.’ Significantly, the photographer of this image has angled the shot skywards, looking upwards and beyond the ruins.
If we consider statistics alone, it’s possible that hundreds of thousands of people have been made aware of their ‘immediate reality’, directly or virtually, through The South Project. Finally, and of more consequence than these impressive statistics is the fact that legions of Southkids across the southern hemisphere can now look up into southern skies and, hopefully, more confidently identify their own place in the global south – where ideas, things and events (including conferences) can be done differently – and sometimes better than those imposed from above.
“The vital point for identity…is that the antipodes is not a place so much as it is a relation, one not of our own choosing but one which also enables us.”
(Peter Beilharz, 1997)
 ‘The history of the International Committee of the History of Art suggests what many people throughout the world have recognized: art and the discourses around it are increasingly global. Art and its history are not only created, but discussed in one form or another on all the inhabited continents of the earth. Globalism has thus also assumed an art historical aspect: indeed it has been described as art history’s most pressing issue. But how can global issues in art history take form in theory or practice? What are the possibilities for a world art history?’. CIHA International Committee of the History of Art 32nd Congress: Crossing Cultures: Congress, Conflict: Migration: Convergence, The University of Melbourne, January 13-18 2008. Online: Accessed 6 January 2011. http://www.cihamelbourne2008.com.au/
 ‘Melbourne’s passion fills the house at ‘Art History Olympics’, The University of Melbourne Voice, Vol 2, No 1, February 2008. http://uninews.unimelb.edu.au/news/4892/
 Childs, Elizabeth, ‘Exchange: Gifting, identity and writing history in fin-de-siecle Tahiti’, paper presented at CIHA 32nd Congress of the International Committee of the History of Art, The University of Melbourne, 13-18 January 2008.
 Of the papers by Australian-based presenters, 33% were from The University of Melbourne, CIHA’s host institution.
 ‘First call for papers: Other Views: Art History in (South) Africa and the Global South’, Southern Perspectives, Online: Accessed December 15 2010. http://www.southernperspectives.net/conference/other-views-art-history-in-south-africa-and-the-global-south-call-for-papers
“CIHA has recently been addressing concerns about the unequal distribution of resources around the globe and challenges from post-colonial societies to the older methods and concepts of western art history. At the CIHA congress in Melbourne in January 2008, one of the key issues for discussion was the extent to which we need to re-think the discipline of the history of art “in order to establish cross-cultural dimensions as fundamental to its scope, method and vision”. SAVAH proposes continuing these discussions in the colloquium ‘Other Views: Art History in (South) Africa and the Global South’ to be held at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg in January, 2011. A principal focus of the discussions, with particular reference to South Africa, will be how the study of art from the African continent is often impeded by a totalising notion of an undifferentiated ‘Africa’. This belies the histories, political trajectories and regional differences of its many communities, nations and states… We do not envision covering all aspects and areas of Africa and the Global South, but we shall use the Global South construct as a framework to focus on Africa and in particular South Africa. The aim is to complicate the history of art and the relationship between histories in the Global South and the ‘north’ or ‘west’”.
 Conversations with SAVAH president Dr Federico Freschi and Professor Anitra Nettleton, Johannesburg, January 14 2011. In obtaining CIHA affiliation, the small SAVAH organisation funded and/or facilitated accommodation and business class airfares for a number of visits to Johannesburg by members of the CIHA Committee executive, including attendance by these speakers at the SAVAH event in January 2011.
 The South Project elicited only passing criticism, as ‘diminish[ing] the artistic culture of Asia’. Marravillas, Francis, ‘Art Histories at the crossroads: “Asian” art in “Australia”’, presentation at CIHA 32nd Congress of the International Committee of the History of Art, University of Melbourne, 13-18 January 2008.
 While (optional) receptions at Government House and the National Gallery of Victoria were lavish, the CIHA congress $AUD660 conference fee included no lunch or refreshments, except for inadequate tea/coffee facilities for long lines of patient delegates.
‘Delegate Welcome Packs’ supplied an impressive if cumbersome 269 page volume of presenters’ abstracts and biographies but no schedule summary with which to navigate up to ten parallel sessions per day. Information about (many) changes to the schedule were unavailable, except online, and there was much discussion about lack of courtesy and hospitality by the professional conference organisers.
 ‘With Australia’s second city “sliding off the international art map”, [Peter Hil] proposed that it was time to invent an event where “so-called rival cities in the region ” could “work together inclusively rather than facing off at each other as if at a sporting match”. This would, he suggested, “fully integrate the region within the global art world”’. Fuller, Peter, in Hill, Peter.( 2006), cited in Zeplin, Pamela, ’Horizontal Relations: The South Project goes to Santiago’, ‘Publications’, The South Project. Online: Accessed 2 January 2011. http://www.southproject.net/south/Pam_Zeplin_Horizontal_Relations.html
 For more details about the 2007 South Project’s aims and objectives, see The South Project. Online: http://www.southproject.net/south/Johannesburg2007_files/Johannesburg%20Program_1.pdf
Accessed 2 January 2011. ‘ The South Project is the major international arts project that brings together the distinct voices of the southern hemisphere through south-south dialogue and cross-cultural exchange. Making its platform in the south, it supports contemporary dynamic cultural practice and promotes the experience and understanding of visual culture for global audiences. We are by nature a lateral organisation in our structure and philosophy: consultation is essential. We are dedicated to ongoing rigorous investigation of contemporary cultural life that challenges & inspires audiences & the art community…’.
 South Kids, ‘…students had worked with nine international artists who had originated from countries from Chile, Brazil, South Africa, India, Korea, Indonesia, Mauritius, Maldives,Fiji, New Zealand and of course Australia. Some of the workshops over the three years included learning skills in the areas of puppetry and mask making, jewellery design, stencil printing, weaving, carving, sculptural construction, performance and curatorship, painting and drawing. South Kids have been very fortunate to have the opportunity of working with such a diverse group of people and to be able to experience the one on one contact with each artist’.
 Cochrane, Susan, ‘Towards Ubuntu: The Way of the South’, Artlink, Vol 24 no 4, 2004.
 ‘…abantu (Bantu languages) we call ubuntu –the sum total of humanising values as the First Nations People of the South understand them…It rejects the regressive and takes due cognizance of progressive strains in all cultures that it harnesses, and teaches…[Ubuntu] eschews chauvinism and cultural imperialism – the insistence by a group that their ways of doing things are superior beyond compare – as well as narcissism and ethnocentrism – the incapacity to look beyond Self. Ubuntu humbles and teaches…a fitting and uplifting philosophy on which to predicate a movement of re-humanisation.’ Mzamane, Mbulelo Vizikhungo, ‘Of Minks and Men’, ‘Beyond Mythification: Constituting a Southern Identity’, Conference Paper from South 1: The Gathering, The University of Melbourne, 1-4 July 2004, p. 7. The South Project. Online: Accessed 11 May 2006. http://w.w.w.southproject.org/texts/mbulelo.htm
 South 1 Melbourne: The Gathering – A New Conversation, July 2004; Wellington Gathering: Between Earth and Sky – Ways of Making a Place in a Placeless World, Wellington, 20-12 October 2005; Crossing Horizons: Context and Community in the South, Santiago (and Valpariso), September 2006; South-South Imbizo, Johannesburg and Soweto, October 2007.
 For further details, see ‘Hector Pieterson’, Accessed December 13 2010. http://www.soweto.co.za/html/p_hector.htm
 Moreno, M, ‘History of the South Project’, The South Project: A new international arts voice (prospectus), The South Project, Melbourne, 2007? (n.d.), pp. 15,17.
 Why Gather?, Elisabeth Murdoch Theatre, The University of Melbourne, 19—20 July , 2008.
’… Delivered through a series of exhibitions, actions, performances, workshops and collaborations, most of which will take in the public domain, the Yogyakarta Gathering in 2009 will be the first time that the South Project has travelled to Asia. Although a select group of Indonesian artists has already participated in South Project activities (such as Heri Dono, Titarubi, Jumaadi, Wulan Dirgantoro, and Dian Fatwa) the South Project has a growing network of potential support, such as the Indonesian Contemporary Art Network amongst others. The South Project also welcomes collaborations from other regions in the South to participate in Yogyakarta 2009. The intention of the Yogyakarta Gathering is above all COLLABORATIVE, RECIPROCAL AND OF ACTIVATION…’. ‘2009 South Project Yogyakarta Expression of Interest’, The South Project, 2008. Online: Accessed December 13 2010. www.southproject.net/south/Yogyakarta2009…/Yogyakarta_October_Brief_ 2008.pdf
 Moreno, M, p. 12.
 Perjumpaan Selatan-Selatan, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, 21 to 25 October 2009
 Stanhope, Z, in Andrew Stephens, A, ‘A new world order’, The Age Entertainment, July 5 2008, p. 2.
 ‘Tuesday, December 15, 2009 until Sunday, December 20, 2009…Melbourne Reflection Post Yogyakarta South Gathering 2009 The South Project presents in Melbourne a reflection on the 5th International South Gathering in Yogyakarta Indonesia in October 2009 – a collaborative model of engagement bringing together arts projects from Melbourne, Perth, Santiago and Yogyakarta. Opening includes artist talks’. ‘South Project’, Bus Projects, 2009. Online: Accessed December 13 2010. http://www.busprojects.com.au/2009/12/09/south-project/
 ‘Dame Rose Macaulay’ [n.d.]. Wise Wisdom on Demand. Online: Accessed December 15 2010. http://www.iwise.com/m2ORX
 2010 South Project Inc., Melbourne 2010: How Can a Network….?, Exhibition, 22 November 2010 – 5 December 2010. 2010 ‘Each concept is an imaginative response to the question of ways of activating people and places by means of a network. Some were planned as hypotheses only, others evolved to works in process, and a number fully intended to be realised by the artist either for this exhibition of ideas or at a future time. All were originated by artists in diverse locations to be seen in Melbourne for this South Project event’.
 De Clario, Domenico, ‘South remarks Sunday 20 October 2007’, Unpublished essay, email correspondence, 2007.
 Moreno, M., p. 12.
Southpaw is a new literary journal of writing from the global south. It is dedicated to the idea of ‘south-south’ dialogue: to conversations between writers, artists and readers about life away from the metropolitan centres of power and culture. It is a literary left hook from the south features fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, essays, reviews and images.
Southpaw issue 1 is focused through the theme of displacement. Writers from South Africa, Indigenous Australia, Philippines, Colombia, Suriname, Angola, Indigenous Japan, China, the Horn of Africa, Tunisia, New Zealand and non-Indigenous Australians write fascinating stories and reflect on home and eviction, migration and asylum seeking, cultural diplomacy and political oppression, cross cultural dealings and cultural reclamation.
- Kevin Murray on the idea of south,
- Danilova Molintas on the city of Baguio, Kendall
- Trudgen on diplomacy in East Arnhem Land and
- Martin Plowman on UFOs in South America.
- Fiction by: Karen Jennings, Tony Birch, paulo da costa, Ruth San A Jong and Paul Maunder.
- Non-fiction by Yeeshan Yang, Karen Lazar, Batool Albatat and Aliza Amlani.
- Reviews by Alice Robinson (Tamil pulp ction), Justin Clemens (Mapanje), Bernard Caleo (Ubby’s Underdogs), John Hughes (Planet B) and Vicki Crowley (Indigenous sexuality).
Australian film-maker John Hughes reports on this year’s Pacific Documentary Film Festival finds new dialogues opening up between islands, languages and cultures.
Fortuitous circumstances (for me, not so much for Harriet) led to an invitation to Tahiti to join the jury of the Pacific Documentary Film Festival FIFO in late January 2011, standing in for the Australian Director’s Guild’s Harriet McKern. At short notice Harriet had to decline FIFO’s offer due to pressing work commitments with the fast approaching ADG Conference. My hesitation took about as long as it takes a falling coconut to hit the ground cracking.
FIFO is in its 8th year and is expanding its horizons. This year the festival hosted a pitch session (for the 2nd time), screenings of short films from the region, a (drama) script development workshop, and a conference on regional media and broadcasting. The short films screening included a number of Australian films. FIFO has developed a partnership with the French Cabourg International Film Festival, and this year screened Cabourg’s 2010 prize winning feature and short drama. Australian films have traditionally done well at FIFO; last year a major prize went to Amiel Courtin-Wilson’s Bastardy, and Charlie Hill-Smith’s Strange Birds in Paradise was among the films screened.This year there were 15 documentaries selected for competition and around 30 screened out of competition. The screenings were very well attended, with most films screening on three or four occasions over the six days of the festival. Filmmakers from Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and elsewhere in the region attended. A number of Australian films were selected and two won major awards. The Jury’s Grand Prix went to Contact (Bentley Dean, Martin Butler, 78 minutes, 2009) and one of the three Special Jury Prizes went to Kuru: the Science and the Sorcery (Rob Bygott, 52 minutes, 2010). The other two Jury prize winners were New Zealand films. Trouble is My Business (Juliette Veber, 83 minutes, 2009), an observatory documentary dealing with the travails of an energetic vice-principal in an East Auckland school looking after Islander and Maori students and This Way of Life (Thomas Burstyn, 86 minutes, 2009), a sympathetic portrait of struggles and utopian life-style of Maori Christian couple Peter and Colleen Karena, their six kids and 50 horses, as they deal with family trauma in New Zealand’s idyllic Ruahine Mountains.
The People’s Choice audience award went to Lucien Kimitete (Dominique Agniel, 52 minutes, 2010), a Canal+ television account of the life and work of a much loved Marquesas politician and activist who disappeared along with his colleague Boris Léontieff and two associates when their small plane crashed into the sea in May 2002. No wreckage from the plane was ever found. The film acknowledges that many people in the region harbour suspicions about the plane’s disappearance, as Lucien Kimitete and Boris Léontieff were expected to assume power in immanent elections and their effective advocacy of local self-determination threatened the status quo. It is not an investigative film, but rather a wistful celebration of Lucien’s dedication that inspired a generation with the transformative power of traditional Marquesas culture.
FIFO is deeply engaged with these questions of culture and identity across Oceania and particularly alert to the role of documentary and other media forms to the future of French Polynesia. Environmental issues are urgent – last year’s Grand Prix went to a New Zealand film on global warming in the region There Once was an Island: Te Henua E Noho (Briar March, 80 minutes, 2010) – development, underdevelopment and social issues associated with economic uncertainty are balanced against the struggle to sustain a variety of Polynesian cultural identities. ‘Authenticity’, identity politics and self-determination across Oceania animate FIFO’s purpose. Take the Australian prize winners. Bentley Dean’s Contact is a beautifully realised cinematic essay reminding us that among the histories shared by the peoples of Oceania is the devastating encounter of Indigenous peoples with European culture, and in particular its weapons of mass destruction; themes clearly recognizable in French Polynesia.Dealing in cannibalism, sorcery, scientific animal experimentation and ‘white man’s magic’ Rob Bygott’s Kuru boldly enters treacherous story territories of anthropology and colonialism in Papua New Guinea without a skerrick of vulnerability to accusations of ‘Orientalism’. The film delivers a deeply moving account of the value of meticulous ethnographic documentation and rigorous scientific curiosity that resulted in the discovery of a new mode of long gestation transmissible disease. The film works through conventions of the science and history specialist factual genre; but here the filmmaker has nourished the documentary content, transcending the tendency of specialist factual to flatten emotional engagement. Rob Bygott’s treatment has deployed shockingly confronting archival footage against warmly intimate testimony from the Fore people of New Guinea’s Eastern Highlands, and this combined with the persuasive humanitarianism and dedication of the film’s main protagonist Michael Alpers, offers an intellectually rich and intriguing narrative beyond both cultural and genre boundaries. The film becomes an exemplary instance of cross-cultural communications where an Indigenous community of Oceania are at the centre of the world.
New Zealanders or Australians made most of the films in competition this year, and were most prominent in the documentary program and short films screened. Much of the work originating locally owes a lot to magazine television. The Polynesian world is abundantly rich in powerful documentary stories. Local people may not yet have had an opportunity to gather together the resources necessary to articulate their own stories in their own documentary voices. Which brings me to the conferences.
The (3rd) ‘Digital Encounters Polynesia’ conference and (5th) Pacific Television Conference held in conjunction with FIFO delivered results. Digital broadcast has recently extended Polynesia’s television offerings, with the familiar attendant questions of ‘choice’ and cultural sovereignty. And a newly installed underwater cable (‘Honotua’) owned by the French Polynesian Telco offers potential for greater broadband communications. This is the context in which there was an agreement signed between France Televisions and the ABC that will allow, among other arrangements, the two biggest media organisations in the Pacific to share footage and content recorded in the field, which will allow for a much greater diversity of content. This will increase both English and French content in the Pacific and has been a long time coming. The deal will allow more stories from English language Pacific nations to make their way to French Polynesia and also provide mechanisms for more stories from the region to make their way back into Australia. Arrangements are in train to establish a syndicate, led by the ABC that will collate and share stories and raw footage from local and regional broadcasters. The conference also resolved to work toward a Pacific film fund to act as an incentive encouraging more independent film production from the diverse Pacific nations. This may take a little longer.At FIFO this year the ABC was well represented by Radio Australia. Neither SBS nor ABC TV participated in the festival, conferences or the pitch environment. However New Zealand’s Maori TV provided an encouraging model of progressive television in the region. FIFO Jury member and Head of Programming at Maori TV Carol Hirschfeld is a strong supporter of documentary. She recognises the opportunities that creative documentary offers for informed dialogue across the region.
For Maori television documentaries are absolutely vital. Our two main free to air broadcasters in New Zealand are increasingly divesting themselves or choosing not to run documentaries – so this is an area (…) we can grow. We are the only free to air broadcaster that has a documentary slot for both local and international documentaries. So in the next five years I see our channel as being the dominant free to air broadcaster of documentaries in New Zealand; that is why a festival such as FIFO (…) will help us fulfil that in the next five years. (Carol Hirschfeld)
Australian documentary filmmakers may envy this commitment. Overall there is a sense of optimism as new networks of culturally diverse media production and distribution emerge across the region. These kinds of events are always eye-openers. We have tended to assume Australia as a kind of European outpost in the Asia-Pacific geography. There is another welcome perspective available in this Oceania imaginary so generously hosted by FIFO.
Apart from the warm and convivial hospitality from the festival, non-stop inspiring meetings with the like-minded from around the world and the region, and the exquisite tropical island environments, what’s a take-home message from FIFO? Don’t miss it, it will do you good. Thanks heaps Harriet; I owe you.
Originally written for the ADG (Australian Director’s Guild) newsletter
Institute of Postcolonial Studies, North Melbourne
James Belich, Kate Darian-Smith, Lorenzo Veracini
The southern question is figured as a struggle by colonies to liberate themselves from metropolitan centres in order to realise their own destinies at the other end of the world. This includes taking up the challenge of co-existence with peoples originally displaced by the process of colonisation. But what remains of the relation between metropolitan centre and periphery? Is there evidence of exchange between oldland and newland that offers a more reciprocal arrangement? What does this mean for potential solidarity between countries of the periphery?
Professor James Belich is at the Stout Research Centre, University of Wellington. His two volumes on New Zealand history, Making Peoples and Paradise Reforged, are considered comprehensive and engaging. His recent publication Replenishing the Earth: The Settler Revolution and the Rise of the Angloworld, 1780-1930 is described in the TLS as ‘one of the most important works on the broad processes of modern world history to have appeared for years.’
Professor Kate Darian-Smith is Professor of Australian Studies and History at the University of Melbourne. Kate has written widely on Australian history and on the British world. Her works include, as co-editor of Britishness Abroad: Transnational Movements and Imperial Cultures, Melbourne University Press, 2007 and Text, Theory, Space: land, literature and history in South Africa and Australia, Routledge, 1996. She is currently working on an ARC-funded project (with Penny Edmonds and Julie Evans) on Conciliation Narratives in British Settler Societies in the Pacific Rim.
Dr Lorenzo Veracini is a Senior Research Fellow at Swinburne University and holds a Queen Elizabeth II Fellowship. He joined the ISR in early 2009 and has studied history and historiography in Italy and the UK before moving to Australia in the late 1990s. He is the author of Israel and Settler Society (Pluto Press 2006) and What is Settler Colonialism? (forthcoming). He is currently writing a global history of settler colonialism and is on the editorial board of the new journal, Settler Colonial Studies.
A Stout Research Centre/ Victoria Institute for Links with Latin America (VILLA) conference
Victoria University of Wellington
2‐4 September 2010
- Professor José Colmeiro, University of Auckland
- Professor Tom Dwyer, University of Campinas, São Paulo
- Professor Alfredo Martínez Expósito, University of Queensland
- Professor Lisa Matisoo‐Smith, University of Otago
- Professor Marco A. Pamplona, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro
Organising Committee: Prof. James Belich, Dr Nicola Gilmour, Prof. Richard Hill, Prof. Warwick Murray, Prof. Rob Rabel, Mrs Patricia Vasconcelos Cavalcanti de Marotta
The Iberian Peninsula and the British Isles are the two leading producers of overseas settler societies in the history of the modern world. Yet the pasts and presents of the two diasporas, which made and remade Latin America and ‘neo-Britains’ such as New Zealand, are seldom compared. This conference will explore comparisons, connections, and convergences, past and present, between New Zealand and the countries of Iberia and Latin America.
To register visit: http://www.victoria.ac.nz/stout‐centre/about/events/conferences.aspx