We are delighted to announce the first two recipients of the Power Publications Dissertation Prize for Indigenous Art Research, Dr Catherine Massola and Dr Mathieu Gallois. Supported by the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund, this prize recognises new research and writing on Indigenous art within a scholarly context and is awarded to the best PhD, DPhil or Master by Research written on Indigenous art.
Professor Ian McLean, Hugh Ramsay Chair of Australian Art History at the University of Melbourne, has selected awardees for the 2017 and 2018 rounds, and applications are now open for the 2019 round. The prize is not restricted to authors of Indigenous heritage and the winning authors will receive be invited to present their research at the University of Sydney.
Dr Catherine Massola
Dr Catherine Massola works as a curator, community developer, academic and arts administrator in Aboriginal communities, art centres, institutions and community organisations. Massola spent six years in Warmun; coordinating the Art Centre Gallery and conducting research. Her PhD research investigates the intended and unintended roles of art in the creation and maintenance of value, culture and agency, informal learning processes and the historic and contemporary impact of Westernisation. Her most recent paper has been published in the international journal Learning, Culture and Social Interaction.
“Catherine Massola’s thesis, ‘Living the Heritage, Not Curating the Past’, is a thoroughly immersive and masterful account of her anthropological fieldwork at Warmun—masterful in that it transforms her first-hand experiences with the people of Warmun into a finely-textured and closely-argued account of a living culture adapting creatively to a challenging environment.
Australian anthropology, especially under the leadership of Howard Morphy who supervised this thesis, has for some time been challenging the standard methodologies of art history, and this is another example of what an anthropology attuned to the aesthetic dimension can teach art historians. A fine example of art history’s ill-defined and porous border, the thesis is a worthy winner of this art history award.”
—Professor Ian McLean, Hugh Ramsay Chair of Australian Art History, University of Melbourne
Dr Mathieu Gallois
Dr Mathieu Gallois is a multi-award winning artist, designer and researcher. In his mid-thirties, Gallois became aware that he knew few Indigenous Australians and little about their culture, history and struggles for self-determination. At the time, he had the good fortune to meet Auntie Joyce Williams, Elder of the Wiradjuri people of central NSW, who took the time to sit with him and communicate the fuller meaning of myriad issues relating to Indigenous Australians. Those talks ultimately lead to Gallois’ thesis on the Aboriginal Flag.
“Matthieu Gallois is to be congratulated and thanked for making such a close analysis of the Aboriginal flag, a project which is long overdue given the flag’s central importance in the way it has challenged and changed earlier conceptions of Aboriginality and also Australianness, and also had such a presence in contemporary art.
In developing a thorough history of the flag, Gallois puts forward an original argument about its hybrid multivalent character—what he calls ‘two things simultaneously’: its Indigenous and Western origins and destinations, and, of more interest to Gallois, its simultaneous action as art, activism and social change. There is much to think about in the thesis, which I’m sure will provoke new arguments.”
—Ian McLean, Hugh Ramsay Chair of Australian Art History, University of Melbourne