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Truth, history and transformation


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Ozolins, BT 2007 , 'Truth, history and transformation', paper presented at the Revelation: installation art and its capacity to interpret and elaborate places of historical significance, 26-27 March 2007, Tasmanian School of Art, Hobart.

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This paper discusses the ways contemporary art strategies can transform our understanding of
history and create new ways of engaging with the past. Referencing two Tasmanian novels that
raise issues about truth, history and transformation, it compares the ways in which two
contemporary Australian artists explore history and cultural heritage. Julie Gough seeks to reevaluate
the impact of the past on the present through the obsessive collection and manipulation
of found objects and natural materials, especially those associated with her Tasmanian Aboriginal
ancestry. Anne Ferran works with the residues of Australia’s colonial past using photomedia,
video and installation, often reconstructing the untold stories of women at historic sites such as
the female factories at Ross and South Hobart. While the strategies used by both artists differ,
their work reflects a common concern for reconfiguring and redescribing the past in ways that
question the authority and veracity of official recorded history. Gough’s and Ferran’s work is
discussed with reference to two novels that merge fact with fiction: Richard Flanagan’s Gould’s
Book of Fish, a contemporary Australian novel set on the Sarah Island penal settlement, and
Henry Savery’s Quintus Servinton, Australia’s first novel, which relates the author’s life and
transportation to colonial Australia. The paper arose as a result of the author creating an art work
about Henry Savery for the 2008 Ten Days on the Island Festival exhibition, The Port Arthur

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Authors/Creators:Ozolins, BT
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