Aboriginal Artists and the Aesthetic of Traditional: 
Encountering Inter-Cultural Language on the Modern Stage

Presentation with Dione Joseph (Australia)

Dione Joseph is a theater director and writer with an academic and practical background in performance and community cultural development. She has developed an ethical and political aesthetic based on her own diverse background and through experience gained working at local, national and international levels. Her passion is working with community in facilitating local stories to be heard on international stages. Till date Dione has directed theatre in New Zealand, the USA and Australia and has recently completed her MA in Community and Cultural Development with a focus on Indigenous Australia. Dione Joseph is also a prolific writer and currently Editor-in-Chief of online publication www.thebearbrass.com.au


Addressing the key questionHow traditions inspire artists to search for the ‘intercultural’ language in contemporary performance?

Format of Presentation: Lecture/reading with the use of images and video.

Aboriginal Australia is one of the oldest living cultures on our planet today with over 60,000 years of history. Unfortunately, during the last 200 years this culture has suffered the onslaught of colonialism with a barrage of horrors that has not only dramatically reduced the Indigenous population, destroyed numerous languages and torn apart communities; but has also had an unprecedented impact on the production and recognition of Aboriginal art across all its mediums. Today contemporary Aboriginal Australian performance is often seen as a hybridized art form. Honouring the traditional aesthetic of this ancient culture and its strong emphasis on ritual, myth, story, song and dance, contemporary Aboriginal artists work towards articulating a new intercultural language that engages the past, whilst simultaneously looking towards the future. Through research conducted over the past three years there have been several patterns emerging as to how different contemporary Aboriginal artists and companies express their work at a local, national and international level. Accordingly, this research presents how three different artistic productions present their own particular inter-cultural engagement. The productions chosen are as follows: of Earth and Sky, a dance-theatre production produced by Australia’s foremost Indigenous dance theatre company Bangarra; Jack Charles vs. the Crown, a political revue devised production produced by Victorian state theatre Ilbijerri; and finally Namatjira, a community based theatrical production on the life of Aboriginal painter Albert Namatjira, produced by Big hART. Through a close analysis of these three shows, this research hopes to offer the global theatre community a quintessential glimpse into how traditional aesthetic forms along with cultural and historical associations inspire dynamic modern works of artistic merit.


Organized by IUGTE in collaboration with "ArtUniverse"