Customary Assets and Contemporary Artistry: Multimodal Learning and Remote Economic Participation

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The role of artistry in transformative maintenance of law and custom is a theme widely researched and discussed in Aboriginal arts related literature. However, it is the aim of this paper to contribute to a wider discourse about learning and economic participation in remote Australia, and in particular the role of multimodality as a significant asset. The paper draws from relevant literature and two case studies; one from Keringke Arts, and one from Eastern Arrernte teacher and artist, Kathleen Kemarre Wallace. In customary form, multimodality combines and recombines various modalities - including dance, song, sand drawing, body painting and design, storytelling, stories, rhythm, petroglyph and ochre-painted rock art - enabling the intergenerational teaching and learning of rich cultural heritage in ways which connect that experience to the law and custom of the homelands. Multimodality, as it is used in this paper, draws on the concept of 'form-relationality'; the way various modalities are combined and recombined, as elements which together describe a body of knowledge and yet separately provide myriad detail. Although beyond the scope of this paper, multimodality is also a mediating influence between contemporary and customary elements and contexts. This paper considers the complexity of multimodality as an asset in a contemporary arts market. � 2015 The Author(s).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-193
Number of pages10
JournalAustralian Journal of Indigenous Education
Issue number2
Early online date16 Sept 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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