Contemporary Aboriginal Art

Subject AHIS30005 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Feb-2016 to 29-May-2016
Assessment Period End 24-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 11-Mar-2016
Census Date 31-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1.5-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial per week.
Total Time Commitment:

Total expected time commitment is 170-hours across the semester, including class time.





Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:

670-346 Contemporary Aboriginal Art

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Dr Susan Lowish


Subject Overview:

Starting with the acrylics of the Western Desert (Papunya) and ending with the most recent developments in new media, the field of contemporary Aboriginal art will be surveyed. Issues such as copyright and appropriation, the art market, women’s art practice, curating and collection policy are debated in this subject and key works in painting, sculpture, printmaking, and photography are studied and discussed. By the end of semester students should have a familiarity with the main issues concerning the interpretation of Aboriginal art in Australia and have a broad knowledge of the pictorial practices of prominent contemporary Aboriginal artists. Guest lectures by artists, academics and industry professionals, as well as visits to art galleries and museums, are a feature of this subject.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of the subject students should have:

  • a familiarity with problems in the interpretation of Aboriginal art and culture in post-colonial Australia;
  • a broad knowledge of pictorial practices of contemporary Aboriginal art.

A research essay of 2500 words 60% (due during the semester) and a take-home examination of 1500 words 40% (due during the examination period).

This subject has a minimum hurdle requirement of 80% attendance and regular participation in tutorials. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • be able to research through the competent use of the library and other information sources, and be able to define areas of inquiry and methods of research in the preparation of essays;
  • be able to conceptualise theoretical problems, form judgements and arguments and communicate critically, creatively and theoretically through essay writing, tutorial discussion and presentations;
  • be able to communicate knowledge intelligibly and economically through essay writing and tutorial discussion;
  • be able to manage and organise workloads for recommended reading, the completion of essays and assignments and examination revision;
  • be able to participate in team work through involvement in syndicate groups and group discussions.

Bachelor of Creative Arts students may credit this subject to a Media Arts and Visual Media major at second or third year.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 200 Point Master of Art Curatorship
Art History
Art History Major
Australian Indigenous Studies
Graduate Certificate in Arts - Art History
Graduate Certificate in Arts - Australian Indigenous Studies
Graduate Diploma in Arts - Art History
Graduate Diploma in Arts - Australian Indigenous Studies

Download PDF version.