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Provincialism Upturned

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The project of Third Text - as a critical voice of the Third World avant-garde - along with the whole process of globalisation, is complicit in an emerging neo-modernity. However, it is a mistake to conflate this emerging neo-modernity with the old Eurocentric modernity, as if nothing has changed. If, for example, our task was once to root out Eurocentrism, now, like the provincialist bind that once shadowed non-European modernists, it is irrelevant. It has no oxygen because it is an impediment to the emergent globalising discourse of modernity. What is needed is a critical reassessment of modernity and modernism that recognises the origins and continuing relevance of their globalising discourses in local arenas around the globe. This essay addresses these issues in the light of one such local arena, the art from the Western Desert Aboriginal communities of Australia that since the early 1970s has been marketed through their company Papunya Tula Arts.

Keywords: Aboriginal art; Australia; Eurocentrism; Papunya-Tula; Rasheed Araeen; Third World; avant-garde; modernity; other; provincialism

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2009-09-01

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