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Multiculturalism and identity: A visual investigation through the medium of printmaking


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Lunn, KLC 2002 , 'Multiculturalism and identity: A visual investigation through the medium of printmaking', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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The catalyst for this project has been my father's
migration from Croatia to Australia in the 1950's
and my experience of his European heritage
within my Australian environment. My father
and the material artefacts he brought from Croatia,
such as photographs and textiles, created a small
but strong presence of this heritage for me within
my family and the domestic interior of my home.
From the moment I recognised their 'difference',
which had been disguised by their familiarity as
objects that were part of my daily life, and saw
them as representations of the exotic, their
presence intensified. They have since been the
object of my curiosity and desire- a curiosity with
the familiar made strange; and a desire to know
more about their original context: the past, the
homeland, and the people depicted in the
photographs. My connection to this heritage is via
these artefacts and is enriched by my father and his
stories, memories and descriptions that project an
idealised version of his homeland.
This project investigates these artefacts as forms of
representation from which knowledge and
perception of the homeland are derived for the
first-generation. An important aspect of the
project is the migrant and his/her verbal
testimony which is integral to the development of
the first-generation's perspective since it is the
migrant's idealised version of the homeland that
is passed down to and explored by their children.
The artefacts are a tangible connection to the past
and the homeland. They are explored as the only
means of access to that world for the firstgeneration,
who have no first-hand experience of
the actual place. This project is autobiographical in that it stems
from my own personal experience, although it is
also representative of the dilemma faced by all
first-generation children of migrants. It reveals an
unbridgeable distance between the place that was
left by the migrant and the concept of the
homeland from the perspective of the firstgeneration.
The significance of this research is where my
works have reinvented the artefacts and their
specific cultural references, changing and
distorting them, rather than simply illustrating
them, incorporating them visually, as if to reclaim
a repressed heritage or a lost history. It is the way
in which the source material is manifest in the
work, in their distorted form, which can be seen as
a sign of this repression and the irretrievable past
The nature of the works submitted reveals an
obsession that characterises the position of the
first-generation - an obsession that is entirely
dependent on the futile pursuit of the homeland.
The outcomes of this investigation reveal the
first-generation's perception of the homeland to be
their own fetishised projection which is the result
of the lack or absence of materials and knowledge
from which they can build up and develop their
own exploration of their cultural heritage.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Lunn, KLC
Additional Information:

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