Authentic Australia?

Aboriginal designs and motifs have been a feature of the ‘Australiana’ arts and crafts industry for decades. From the 1940s onwards, Indigenous design was embraced across a wide range of domestic and tourist products. While such objects will be familiar and nostalgic to many of us, have you ever thought about where they come from?

The exhibition Authentic Australia? features a selection of vintage Australian homewares alongside examples of the pottery and tourist wares produced in the Aboriginal art centres at Yarrabah, Hopevale and Cherbourg. Together these objects raise a number of complex, and at times challenging, questions about how Aboriginal culture has been represented in commercial and tourist products. Authentic Australia? invites viewers to look at familiar objects in a new light, and to consider issues of appropriation, authorship and authenticity in ‘Indigenised’ design.

The exhibition is largely drawn from the collection of historian Glenn Cooke. Queensland Museum acknowledges former Senior Curator Indigenous Studies, Trish Barnard, for the research she has undertaken on this collection.  

Image credits from top:  Plate, maker unknown; Yarrabah Pottery studio Playing Cards, made by Hudson Industries Pty Ltd, 1936-1972; Ashtray, maker unknown, 1950s-1970s.

Event Details

26 July 2016 - 05 February 2017
Level 2 Foyer

Of Interest