‘AND STILL I RISE’: Young refugees rap at Te Papa

Patrick from Sudan invites me to ‘Come and see what we’ve been doing.’  Young refugees, from over 20 ethnic backgrounds, have explored their experiences of coming to, and settling in, New Zealand through, ‘writing, film, photography and all kinds of artwork.’ I accept Patrick’s invitation and enter the Mixing Room on the fourth floor of … Continue reading ‘AND STILL I RISE’: Young refugees rap at Te Papa

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Wearable Art, Waitangi Treaty and a Wellington Welcome

The rain persists so, instead of going west down the coastline, we head for Auckland Museum. “You can compare the displays of Māori culture with Te Papa, “ Tess suggests. “They have a more traditional approach here than in Wellington.” But we get sidetracked. There is a touring exhibition from the Museum of Wearable Art. … Continue reading Wearable Art, Waitangi Treaty and a Wellington Welcome

Multiculturalism under the microscope in Melbourne Museums (2) – the Immigration Museum or If I was white

I walk along City Road, across the river and towards the restored Old Customs House, now the Museum of Immigration. It’s easy to find. Large banners advertising Identity, Yours, Mine, Ours, with portraits of men and women representing multiracial Australia, hang over the elegant façade. Identity, Yours, Mine, Ours is the title of the much-praised … Continue reading Multiculturalism under the microscope in Melbourne Museums (2) – the Immigration Museum or If I was white

Multiculturalism under the microscope in Melbourne Museums – Mark 1

I walk up the hill, away from the graffiti and loathsome cakes on Acland street in St Kilda, to the Jewish Museum of Australia. Most people are here on a rainy Sunday afternoon for the exhibition of Warhol’s Jewish Geniuses. I head, instead, to the back of the building, ignoring the Judaica too. I want … Continue reading Multiculturalism under the microscope in Melbourne Museums – Mark 1

Canberra – heritage hole or cultural oasis?

The origin of the name ‘Canberra’, the capital of Australia, is disputed. Is it from the Indigenous name for the hollow between a woman's breasts, the hollow being likened to the floodplain between Mount Ainslie and Black Mountain. Or is it, according to a more  European version, from the Australian 'cranberry'? Two competing versions, two … Continue reading Canberra – heritage hole or cultural oasis?

Settler or migrant, colonisation or invasion?

At the door of the Migration Museum in Adelaide there is a dedication to the Kaurna people, ‘the original occupants of the site, who were disposed of their homelands by British settlers.’ Inside are a series of paintings by an artist of Aboriginal descent, Darryl Pfitzner Milika. A painting of a sole Aboriginal person about … Continue reading Settler or migrant, colonisation or invasion?