'Islands of possibility': Film-making, cultural practice, political action and the decolonization of Tasmanian history

Publisher:
Taylor and Francis
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Studies in Australasian Cinema, 2013, 7 (2-3), pp. 123 - 136
Issue Date:
2013-01
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This article considers the potential of a decolonizing poetics, evident across Tasmanian Aboriginal arts and cultural works, to contribute to a distinctively Aboriginal film-making practice in Tasmania. The potency of this body of work, alongside the Aboriginal communitys vigorous political campaigns for cultural rights and land rights, has not translated into a distinctively Tasmanian Aboriginal film culture. Apart from several significant documentary films and photographic works that indicate the emergence of a powerful decolonizing poetics there are no fictional feature films by Tasmanian Aboriginal film-makers. Moreover recent feature films produced by non-Indigenous film-makers about Tasmania invoke the `Tasmanian Gothic trope, imagining an island without any Aboriginal presence. This article considers processes that contribute to decolonizing through the contemporary work of Tasmanian Aboriginal writers and artists, including Jim Everett, Julie Gough, Greg Lehman and photographer Ricky Maynard. I suggest their poetics are more than textual. They are grounded in country and community linked to another realm beyond the `shallow time of colonization. Their decolonizing poetics are shared with Maori film-maker Barry Barclays `Fourth Cinema, where the camera is firmly in Indigenous hands, based in community and cultural practices
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