Individualising Indigenous History: Julie Dowling's Imagined Portraits

Amy Jackett

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Paper published in Proceedings

    Abstract

    This paper examines the way Julie Dowling’s imagined portraits of Aboriginal people employ traditional portrait conventions to create powerful, emotive individual portraits that aim to individualise indigenous history. Imagining faces of her ancestors and influential Aboriginal freedom fighters, Dowling seeks to apotheosise figures from Aboriginal history, giving them heroic stature through portraiture. Drawing on Ernst Gombrich’s seminal essay, ‘The Mask and the Face: The Perception of Physiognomic Likeness in Life and Art’ (1972), I argue that Dowling manages to create an impression of life that makes her portraits accessible and affective to a broad audience. Dowling is a Badimaya Aboriginal artist based in Western Australia whose art confronts assimilation, dispossession, native title issues as well as racial discrimination. Her work reflects a personal and political drive to connect with her Aboriginal heritage. Many of her imagined portraits are of family members, as well as significant Aboriginal figures. In this paper I will analyse four of Julie Dowling’s imagined portraits. Each portrait highlights a different facet of her imagined portraiture.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationACUADS Conference 2012
    EditorsC Barstow, D De Bruin, J Goddard
    Place of PublicationAustralia
    PublisherAustralian Council of University Art & Design Schools
    Pages1-9
    Number of pages9
    ISBN (Print)978-0-9758360-8-8
    Publication statusPublished - 2012
    EventACUADS Conference 2012. Region and Isolation: The changing function of art & design education within diasporic cultures and borderless communities - Perth Australia
    Duration: 3 Oct 20125 Oct 2012

    Conference

    ConferenceACUADS Conference 2012. Region and Isolation: The changing function of art & design education within diasporic cultures and borderless communities
    Period3/10/125/10/12

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    Cite this

    Jackett, A. (2012). Individualising Indigenous History: Julie Dowling's Imagined Portraits. In C. Barstow, D. De Bruin, & J. Goddard (Eds.), ACUADS Conference 2012 (pp. 1-9). Australia: Australian Council of University Art & Design Schools.