Focus on Southeast Australia

In October, Dr. Jonathan Jones (University of Technology, Sydney) visited the Museum to examine Australian material from New South Wales and Victoria. As both an artist and researcher, Jones has a special perspective on museum collections from this region, home to the communities to which he belongs (Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi.)

Dr. Jones explains: “Grounded in Indigenous research methodologies and epistemologies, this research involves each object from a collection being carefully drawn. [This] allows for a greater relationship with the object, a deeper understanding of the shape and design, and an ability to recognise the hand of each maker.” Noting that “Eighteenth and nineteenth century collections of Aboriginal Australian objects...were made at a time when little regard was given to Aboriginal artists or their communities of origin,” Jones aims to begin tackling the problem of poorly provenanced Australian collections from the last centuries.

During his 3-day visit, Dr. Jones was able to examine dozens of shields, clubs, boomerangs and other items. While time did not allow for him to make as many detailed sketches as he would normally prefer, Dr. Jones did photograph a number of items that will enable him to share the collections and his research with a broader audience. Dr. Jones’ report on the collection will also enrich the Field’s documentation as he will be able to add additional geographic and source community information to the record.

Below: Dr. Jonathan Jones measures, sketches, and takes notes about a shield in the Museum’s Collections Resource Center.


Above: Dr. Jonathan Jones measures, sketches, and takes notes about a shield in the Museum's Collections Resource Center.

Background image: Port Moresby by Hitchster. CC BY 2.0 / cropped and desaturated from original

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