Portrait of the artist as a young colonial girl: Emily Carr and Judith Wright



Publication Details

Collett, A. & Jones, D. 2009, ''Portrait of the artist as a young colonial girl: Emily Carr and Judith Wright'', The Journal of Commonwealth Literature, vol. 44, no. 3, pp. 51-67.


In their autobiographical writing, painter Emily Carr and poet Judith Wright record a remarkably similar experience of how growing up in colonial/postcolonial Canada and Australia shaped them as artists. Although each identified strongly with the region of her birth, and felt a deep love of its landscape, issues of belonging preoccupied both women from childhood on as they negotiated their place within the family, the immediate society and the nation. Neither could fully conform to family expectations, nor comply with the restrictions society sought to impose on them as artists and each actively sought, or else found herself cast in an outsider role. Carr and Wright's self portraits each have something in common with James Joyce's representation of Stephen Dedalus in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man as an insider/outsider figure who seeks to escape the confining networks of nation and society only to find himself thoroughly entangled in them.

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