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Courting Blakness:
Recalibrating Knowledge in the Sandstone University

by

A celebration of ‘Courting Blakness’, a groundbreaking exhibition of contemporary Indigenous art.

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Overview

In a bold and unprecedented project, acclaimed international artist Fiona Foley curated a cutting-edge installation in the University of Queensland’s sandstone Great Court.

Universities have traditionally been elite institutions, overlooking and undervaluing the knowledge contributions of Indigenous thinkers, activists and artists. This history is etched into the walls of the Great Court, with anachronistic concepts of humanity and racial difference revealed in many of the friezes and sculptural reliefs. Fiona Foley and her team of eight Aboriginal artists aimed to challenge these concepts.

The ‘Courting Blakness’ exhibition reclaimed this historically white space, creating a visual dialogue between contemporary Aboriginal art and colonial-inspired architecture. It also sparked important conversations about issues that matter to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Featuring striking images as well as essays by artists, curators and academics, Courting Blakness is a stylish and comprehensive tribute to this innovative project.

Details
Fiona Foley

Fiona Foley

Dr Fiona Foley is from the Wondunna clan of the Badtjala nation. Foley exhibits regularly in Australia and internationally. In 2014 she was the recipient of an Australia Council Visual Arts Award. She is a regular keynote speaker at conferences and symposia all over the world. Most recently she convened Courting Blakness: Recalibrating Knowledge in the Sandstone University (2014) at The University of Queensland, where she was an Adjunct Professor (2011–17).

Foley completed her fourth film titled Out of the Sea Like Cloud in 2019. Recent exhibitions include a 25-year photographic retrospective titled Who Are These Strangers and Where Are They Going? Dr Fiona Foley is currently a Lecturer at the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University.

Louise Martin-Chew
Photo by Sardi Klein

Louise Martin-Chew

Louise Martin-Chew is a freelance art writer. She has contributed to magazines, newspapers and catalogues for over twenty years.

Fiona Nicoll

Fiona Nicoll

Fiona Nicoll is a founding member of the Australian Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Association and edited its inaugural journal in 2005. She has a track record of working with Indigenous leaders, artists and academics, through social history curation, collaborative arts projects, teaching and joint research projects. A Professor at the University of Alberta in Canada and an Adjunct Professor at RMIT in Melbourne, she has published on Indigenous gambling in Australia and North America and brings expertise in critical race and whiteness studies, and the role of arts in creating and transforming knowledge relationships, within and across conflict zones in settler-colonial states.