Adding Value: Rethinking Late 19th-Century Torres Strait Islander Drawings in Anthropological Inquiry

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Abstract

This article focuses on the cultural and artistic value of a collection of Torres Strait Islander drawings that were commissioned and collected in the late 19th century. I argue that these drawings, made during Alfred C. Haddon's "salvage anthropology" expeditions, can provide insight into the nature of Islander graphic systems and the production of contemporary Islander art. By focusing on stylistic links between the drawings and other forms of decorative art, and their role as resources and inspiration for contemporary Islander artists, I explore the role these collections play in investigating regional artistic traditions, and how they act as agents in reaffirming Islander identity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-188
Number of pages22
JournalVisual Anthropology
Volume25
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2012

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