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Lesson Plans

Re: are we allowed

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
craig roland (rol1851.EDU)
Tue, 11 Mar 1997 19:11:43 -0500

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Brian wrote:

>I just saw a news report about a white
>Austrailian woman who was "posing" as an aboringinal artist named Eddie
>Burrup. She was selling traditional paintings to galleries and giving the
>dealers the impression that she was from the Aboriginal people. That is
>about all the details I recieved... I was wondering has anyone else seen or
>heard anything else about this??? It seems like the ultimate in cultural
>art fraud.

I have the AP news article on this topic in front of me. To add to what
Brian said here, the woman who created the stir is 82 yrs. old and of Irish
She is quoted in the article as saying Eddie Burrup is "very alive to me."
Asked if she invented the artist, she said: "that's a hard one to answer.
Maybe he's a figure of my personna."

According to the article, three of her works using a dot-style technique
and incorporating Aboriginal symbols and themes had been considered to be
in the forefront of Aboriginal painting. Two were up for awards.

The furor over the works caused mixed reactions from curators and critics.
One said "How dare anyone appropriate a culture like that. . .Nothing
justifies inventing an Aboriginal person. It's a massive fraud." Another
said, "I don't give a hoot who painted it. We're not judging the artist.
We're judging the work of art."

The responses from Aboriginal elders and artists is perhaps more relevant least to our discussion of this issue. One called it "the
ulitmate act of colonization." Another called for laws to protect the
authenticity of Aboriginal art.

One final comment from the article: "Personal identify is crucial to many
Aboriginal artists. Some have stopped painting after learning that their
paintings have been counterfeited."

I've been out of virtual touch lately, and have appreciated reading over
the responses to this discussion thread started by Glen. It has been a
nice extention of similar discussions that have gone on earlier on this


CRAIG ROLAND. Associate Professor-Art Education.
Department of Art, University of Florida, Gainesville Florida.
32611-5801. (352) 392-9165 - Art Ed Office (352) 392-8453 - Fax

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