Future History

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Acknowledging the multifaceted reality of Australian contemporary society — from its fraught history of whitewashing brutal colonial settlement, to the movement of bodies (erroneously deemed illegal) across borders and the migration of people from across the globe — is essential to the ability for both visual and material culture to speak to the future history of humankind globally. For this reason, Australian art historians must urgently activate and thoroughly engage in the much-needed renovation of the canon. With or without the canonical references to ‘outsider art’, so-called ‘outsider artists’ and their communities will continue to create and engage in various forms of art practice, and with each undocumented moment the chasm between art as culture maker and historical witness expands and grows out of necessity into its own self-contained history. This contained history will soon enough surpass, and then reject, its Western occupier and host. Migrant and diasporic artists, artists from minority communities and all those deemed as ‘outsiders’ will no longer wait patiently on the sidelines as the global contemporary art community beckons them. The confines of Australia’s national narratives and borders, along with the Eurocentric tastes they harbour will be soon be discarded.


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