Socrates said: “I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think.”
That’s what I’m doing with this project Courting Blakness. I’m only making you think. I cannot teach you anything.
The ambition that currently drives many Aboriginal artists is to challenge notions of who we are as Australians. Through bringing eight Aboriginal artists into the University of Queensland's Great Court we are reinterpreting this space. The artists are reshaping the way we think about Australian identity. Their artworks will reconfigure how non-Indigenous students interact with the space and think about contemporary society and Aboriginal politics.
What happens when you subvert constructs of power? I think that the Great Court is a construct of power and by subverting that space you actually create a more interesting space. Through Courting Blakness we’re going to enter into a new dialogue that we’ve never had before.
In a groundbreaking exhibition, located in the University of Queensland’s Great Court from September 5-28 2014, curator and UQ Adjunct Professor, Fiona Foley, brings together works by Ryan Presley, Archie Moore, Rea, Natalie Harkin, Karla Dickens, Christian Thompson, Megan Cope and Michael Cook.
As research collaboration and teaching migrate to online platforms, what is the unique space and potential of the university campus? What is the place of art in the global university? How does art shape academic knowledge and how does academic knowledge shape art? What does contemporary Aboriginal art allow us to see? What does it prompt us to think and feel about the ways we occupy spaces of knowledge? Over two weeks in September Courting Blakness invites us to observe and participate as art moves through spaces and practices of learning at the University of Queensland.
Courting Blakness approaches the university as more than a brand in a global marketplace. The university also embodies a specific history and set of relationships between people and place. The architecture of the Great Court describes a meeting place of different academic disciplines, artists and thinkers through the ages. Courting Blakness invites staff, students and members of the public to engage this space through new conversations about issues that matter to Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
Ideas about humanity and racial difference often find expression in spaces of public art and cultural heritage in Australia. Courting Blakness invites us to consider how much or how little these ideas have changed since the Great Court was designed and built. Such consideration will generate more complex and layered understandings about how local, national and transnational spaces of knowledge and education are formed and reconfigured over time.