The Legacy of Queensland Aboriginal Creations and Contemporary Artefact Production

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    Queensland Aboriginal Creations, or QAC, was the marketing arm for Queensland’s Department of Native Affairs, officially launched in 1959 and continuing until 1995. The decades in between are fascinating studies of material culture production, government policy intervention, First Nation agency and innovation and, ultimately, the continuation of cultural traditions and knowledges that span tens of thousands of years. The Department of Native Affairs had production centres across the state, mass producing boomerangs, bark paintings and pottery. In August 2019, I was contracted to curate the exhibition based on almost 10 years of ‘living with’ the QAC story and all its multifaceted aspects. This article explores the policies and production systems of Queensland Aboriginal Creations and how those systems influence and affect artists today through the lens of the University of Queensland’s Anthropology Museum’s exhibition Agency and Legacy. A brief overview of the scope of QAC’s activities will provide the overall context but it is especially through the production of artefacts and boomerangs that the innovative spirit of artists arises and the real legacy of those policies becomes apparent. Specifically, this article shifts the conversations around boomerangs from a tourist curio to a work of cultural importance through the lens of Agency and Legacy and in conversation with contemporary makers.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)117-142
    Number of pages26
    JournalAboriginal History
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


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