What insights has your study of Australian Literature and Art given into the importance of creativity as a part of human experience?
This semester with the subject of Australian Literature, I have furthered my understanding of the importance of the arts and how it can express, explore and argue certain issues and concepts within Australian society. By been taught the works of Judith Wright, Oodgeroo Noonuccal and others; I have been able to develop a new understanding and appreciation of the Indigenous culture and the hardships that they have been faced with over the last two centuries. In particular, with the novel That “Deadman’s Dance” by Kim Scott, it was extremely insightful as we were able to witness the same experience from two very differing perspectives, one being the white Australians and the other the Indigenous. By having the two views alternating throughout the whole novel, it allowed for me to gain a better understanding of the events that did occur in Western Australian in the early settlement and made me feel a sense of shame due to the way the early settlers treated the Indigenous and that there was the potential for both cultures to be able to live among each other in harmony as seen through the character of Doctor Cross. I believe that Doctor Cross was symbolic of the bridge between both cultures but after he dies, the ties connecting the two cultures was destroyed and this was the start of the deterioration of the Indigenous culture because white settlers became materialistic and imperialistic. By reading this works along side with other works, I have realised that due to these works being produced myself and many others would have been able to sympathise with the ordeals of the past and gain a better understanding of the events of the early colonisation of Australia, this highlighting that the creativity of these works are important in understanding human nature.
This unit has made me very aware of how materialistic Australia has been and I feel that it is due to the way that the early settlers wanted Australia to become an artificial England. But further on, in the 19th century Australia begins to gain its own identity as seen with artworks by John Glover but in later works in the 20th century and early 21st artists revert back and show that the Australian society wished to be like England once again. This can be seen in works such as “The expulsion” by Margaret Preston as Preston comments on how self-centered individuals are becoming while there are sub-groups within Australia such as the Indigenous that are still suffering. This shows to me that that art is not only a way for an individual to express themselves but are able to challenge and argue issues with our society. Personally, I now have a new appreciation of art as it allows individual’s to express their own opinions and allow insight into their own perspective of their world, meaning that the creative arts are fundamental in trying to understand human experience.
In all, I have learnt that through the study of Australian Literature and art we are able to view different dimensions of the world and are able to gain a deeper understanding of Australian history and culture as different artists express their own opinions and issues regarding modern day Australian society.
Image from http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/DA64.1967/