Erasing the Rowley Line

We can’t underestimate the impact that historical thinking has on our thinking today. The Rowley Linewas literally a line drawn by sociologist CD Rowley across a map of Australia to artificially divide Aboriginal Peoples and communities into two distinct and binary groups – colonial/remote and settled.

The impact of this thinking from the middle of last century impacts how many Australians understand Aboriginal Peoples and cultures. We see it today in commentary as well as policy directions.

Today I’m listening to Erasing the Rowley Line, an episode of ABC Radio National’sEarshot presented by David Rutledge. The episode was produced by Lorena Allam.

Erasing the Rowley Line introduces us to Tess Allas, an Indigenous curator and Head of Indigenous Programs at UNSW Art and Design in Sydney where her annual Indigenous printmaking workshop hosts Indigenous artists at the campus’s Printmaking studio. This year, the workshop was inspired by the Rowley Line with each of the artists creating works responding to it.

I highly recommend this program to those interested in art as the artists work through their process of creating the works and the practical issues involved in printmaking, as well as those interested in Australian history. Each of the artists draws on aspects of Australian history, their own personal histories as well as broader Australian events.

The program is downloadable and the program’s page contains a number of images of the final artworks and the artists working in the studio.