Art History: Possessions: indigenous art / colonial culture / decolonisation: a panel discussion
Nicholas Thomas, Anna-Marie White, Stephen Gilchrist, Roger Benjamin
Possessions: indigenous art / colonial culture / decolonisation: a panel discussion
First published in 1999, Nicholas Thomas’s Possessions: Indigenous Art/Colonial culture argued that art had been vital to the making of settler nations, particularly in Australia and New Zealand, and was equally vital to their renegotiation and re-imagining. A second edition published recently reflects on the intellectual and political context in the 1990s, and the different challenges and opportunities that have emerged since, and that are powerfully articulated through contemporary practice. This panel discussion will consider the book’s ambitions and approaches, and where the project of decolonising art worlds and art history could go now.
Anna-Marie White is a Māori researcher, writer, curator and Tātai Taura | Principal Advisor at Toi Māori Aotearoa — Māori Art New Zealand, an independent organisation that supports and promotes the development of Māori arts.
Nicholas Thomas has been Director of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge since 2006. He has written extensively on art, colonial encounters and museums, and co-curated ‘Oceania’ for the Royal Academy and the Musée du quai Branly-Jacques Chirac over 2018-19.
Stephen Gilchrist: Belonging to the Yamatji people, I am an art historian, lecturer and curator who has held curatorial appointments with the Indigenous collections of the National Gallery of Australia (2003-2005), the British Museum (2008), the National Gallery of Victoria (2005- 2010), the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College (2011-2013) and the Harvard Art Museums (2012-2016). I continue to work closely with major Australian and international institutions and contribute to international dialogues surrounding the scholarship and interpretation of Indigenous art and culture with a focus on Indigenous curation as an expression of sovereignty.
Roger Benjamin is Professor of Art History at the University of Sydney. He worked with Nick Thomas as a fellow at ANU’s Centre for Cross-Cultural Research 1998-2000, and has published widely on French Orientalism, Matisse, and Indigenous Australian art.