In the 1970s, the struggle for "self-determination" was the dominant trope of the cultural, political and even aesthetic aspirations of artists belonging to first nations around the world. Today, the term resonates with a claim of ownership over the authentic, for subjects, objects, and images in relation to cultural heritage and property. Through its aesthetic sources, epistemological materials, techniques, and its intended audience, the contemporary art of first nations’ peoples proposes different histories and stories of art. Immensely innovative, it is also producing a critical awakening of a different imagination with respect to the hegemonic approaches of art and cultural production.
Hetti Perkins and Candice Hopkins discuss contemporary art by artists in two different contexts—Australia and Canada—as well as the implications within their own communities and a wider artistic context.