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(Dis)regarding the Savages: terra nullius in Tasmanian colonial art


Lehman, G, (Dis)regarding the Savages: terra nullius in Tasmanian colonial art, Colonialism and its Narratives: rethinking the colonial archive in Australia conference, 10-11 December 2018, Mebourne, Australia (2018) [Conference Extract]

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The idea of ‘European vision’ and its influence on the perception of native peoples in the South Pacific was established by the great Australian art historian Bernard Smith. Central to Smith’s analysis is the concept of the Noble Savage. This paper briefly explores some origins of the idea of Noble Savagery and argues that particular iterations of the trope became central to the visual representation of Tasmanian Aborigines in ethnographic and colonial art. In what was perhaps the ultimate disregard of Tasmanian Aboriginal people in the process of British colonisation, early depictions of Van Diemen’s Land almost completely excised Aboriginal presence from the landscape, presaging a campaign of extermination and exile by picturing an empty land decades before administrative measures were taken to physically remove the First Tasmanians from their country.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Keywords:Aboriginal, Tasmania
Research Division:Indigenous Studies
Research Group:Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, society and community
Research Field:Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sociology
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Understanding past societies
Objective Field:Understanding Australia's past
UTAS Author:Lehman, G (Professor Gregory Lehman)
ID Code:145889
Year Published:2018
Deposited By:Aboriginal Engagement
Deposited On:2021-08-10
Last Modified:2021-08-10

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