Doctor of Creative Arts
School of Creative Arts
Counsel, Paul, Genocide: a ceramic representation and documentary study of the impact of colonisation on the Australian Aboriginals, Doctor of Creative Arts thesis, School of Creative Arts, University of Wollongong, 1990. http://ro.uow.edu.au/theses/950
The work presented in this submission deals with the impact of colonisation on the Australian Aboriginals, it is presented in two parts, one a written dissertation, the other an exhibition of ceramic art. Using both aspects, I investigate the relationship between Aboriginal and white societies, both in an historical and present day context, and claim that this relationship constitutes genocide.
This narrative is not written from a straight historical point of view, in that I do not look at different areas, States, times, individuals and policies to evaluate similarities and differences. Rather, it is a personal statement written by an artist. There is no attempt to create a smooth myth in the way that much of Australia's history has previously been addressed.
In this investigation, I have applied Raphael Lempkin's definition of genocide, to events and practices which have taken place since the colonisation of Australia. I have structured the document around the United Nation's Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
In the presentation of the art work, I have used clay and corroded steel metaphorically to represent Aboriginal and white societies respectively. The resultant juxtaposition of these materials alludes to certain events and practices as described in the research.
My greatest concern is that our history has been prejudiced by ideals and assumptions, which lay at the foundations of our ways of thinking. Aboriginal people continue to suffer the results of this legacy.
It is my belief that these ideals need to be reassessed and that we need to change the way we remember our past. Through this body of work, I am expressing my concern at the continued injustice directed towards Aboriginal people, by making visible a history which has contributed to the present socially depressed condition of Aboriginals.