Imprinting on the heart: Photography and contemporary Yolngu mournings

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This article examines the ways photographs of the recently deceased have come to occupy a central place in Yolngu grieving practices. Harnessing the potentially traumatic ontological qualities of oscillating absence-presence that are inherent in such images, I show how Yolngu in Northern Australia use this affective force as a way to refigure and reconstitute embodied and sensuously mediated relationships between the living and the dead. With vision simultaneously allowing corporeal permeability and expansion, mourners impress the image of the deceased within them, through the eyes to the heart as the fleshly organ of affect, associative recollection, and lived intersubjectivity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-309
Number of pages18
JournalVisual Anthropology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008
Externally publishedYes


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