What insights has your study of Australian Literature and Art given you into the importance of creativity as part of human experience?
This was the focus of this semester’s work in Australian Literature and my studies this semester have given me an insight into the history that Australia has undergone over the past couple of centuries, beginning with the Indigenous Australians and ending with the views of contemporary Australian authors and poets. This wide scope of literature has given me an understanding into how Australia has changed and evolved overtime and has also given me the unique opportunity to experience this through a range of perspectives.
Kim Scott’s novel, That Deadman Dance, and Australian poets, like Judith Wright and Lisa Bellear, have given me a window into what it was like for the Indigenous Australians and the colonial settlers when the Europeans first arrived in Australia. These authors gave an incredible insight into the amazing connection that the Indigenous people shared with the land and how they treated it as if it were sacred, while the European settlers came barging in and claiming it as their own, seeing it only for their own utilitarian uses. I also saw through Judith Wright and Lisa Bellear the rocky relationship between the settlers and the Indigenous people and how keenly both sides felt this relationship and how it affected them both – these works gave off a sense of a loss of identity and a sense of isolation, especially for the children and young people involved.
The artworks seen at the Art Gallery of NSW also showed a broad range of perspectives on the land. The paintings at the Gallery came from various times in history and depicted many aspects of the land – a lot of these paintings showed the utilitarian side of the land, similar to what was reflected in the works previously mentioned – but many also portrayed the beauty and majesty of the land, very ably demonstrating the singular connection between the land and the Indigenous people and looking at these incredible paintings, it was so easy to understand how protective they were of their land because of the vast beauty of it.
Later works of Australian authors and poets reflected the changing times and attitudes that were experienced as history progressed. Most recently, I read and studied Les Murray’s poem “The Cool Green”, which was deeply associated with money. I found it astonishing how humans could’ve changed so much over the span of a couple of centuries. The utilitarian interest in the land is still there, yes, but the initial greediness with which we approached the land is still very much there and has expanded into other aspects of life; for instance, our everyday life. We just want more and more now, living simply like the Indigenous Australians did wasn’t enough and so, once we exploited the land, we moved on to exploit our own culture and almost corrupt ourselves through greed and let money consume us, as Les Murray’s poem so aptly describes.
The importance of creativity as part of human experience is incredible and my studies have shown me this over the past semester. Creativity allows us to write down and share our thoughts and emotions in a unique way and these blogs and writings have enabled me to do so and the authors’ and poets’ creativity has allowed me to see Australian literature, art and history in a new and very interesting light. It has also shown me human experiences throughout time, starting with the initial rocky relationship between the white European settlers and the Indigenous Australians, then ending with the contemporary perspectives of modern Australians, showing me how much experiences can change and affect us in different ways.
LINKS TO MY BLOGS:
Best Creative Blog: https://felicitymcmanus.wordpress.com/category/oz-lit/best-creative-blog/
Best Critical Blog: https://felicitymcmanus.wordpress.com/category/oz-lit/best-critical-blog/
Summative Entry: https://felicitymcmanus.wordpress.com/2016/05/20/summative-entry/