Liam Michael Brady
Ethel-Jane Westfeldt Bunting Summer Scholar
From Artefact to Agent: Exploring Contemporary Indigenous Relationships to Rock Art
This project is a comparative analysis of how Indigenous communities from two of the world’s great rock art regions — northern Australia and the American Southwest — are engaging with and negotiating their contemporary relationships(s) to rock art. Often viewed by archaeologists as an artefact reflective of activities of the past, this project aims to shift discourse around rock art to instead explore how rock art can be considered sentient, multivocal and an active social agent of the present and future. Using anthropological and archaeological perspectives three major case studies are used to examine the contemporary meaning(s) and relevance Indigenous peoples ascribe to their rock art today. By focusing on the complex social dynamics related to the contemporary meaning-making process this project provides new and exciting insights into the agency and generative dimensions of rock art as well as exploring how cultural relationships to heritage are being re-worked in different settings.
Affiliation at time of award:
Senior Lecturer, Monash Indigenous Centre, Monash University