Ancestral remains, repatriation, and contemporary Indigenous Art

Alexandra Roginski will be giving our next seminar on Wednesday 30th October, when she will be speaking on ‘Somatic histories, stolen remains and contemporary Indigenous art in the settler-colonial state’

Alex writes ‘The histories of European researchers, doctors and collectors exhuming and hoarding Indigenous ancestral remains ripple through public memory as some of the greatest transgressions of western knowledge practices. Since the 1960s, Indigenous activists and groups, and (increasingly) the settler state have sought to remediate the material legacies of these practices by campaigning for the repatriation and respectful reburial of ancestral remains still held in historical collections. The symbolic powers of these narratives of bodily desecration resonate through the respective works of Daniel Boyd and Brook Andrew, who hold dual roles in Australian culture as celebrated Indigenous artists and contributors to public memory. As examples of what I call “somatic histories”, many of their works localise stories of past transgressions – together with the lived experience and aspirations of present-day Indigenous Australians – within human remains. In charting connections between historical violence and contemporary Australian life, they ultimately challenge the settler state’s search for symbolic closure’.

Please join us for what will be a fascinating and provocative talk.

Replica of a nineteenth-century phrenological bust produced by the Fowler phrenological empire. The cranial science of phrenology contributed to a flurry of skull collecting during the long nineteenth century.











Date: Wednesday 30 October, 2019
Time: 5pm – 6pm
Venue: Deakin Downtown, 727 Collins St, Tower 2, Level 12

Free of charge, all welcome.

For further information: contact Steve Cooke ([email protected]

Venue Tip: Deakin’s city centre campus is a short walk from Southern Cross Station towards Docklands and on part of the free city centre tram network (Stop D15 on routes 11 and 48).  Entry is via Tower Two.  The reception desk directs you to an escalator to a bank