Is art and cultural history still relevant to the present?

From a First Nations lens to putting community-led conservation first, writer Vyshnavee Wijekumar examines the role of collections today, and new ways of navigating their weighty past.
Child viewing museum object.

There is an emphasis on ‘the new and innovative’ in the art world to continue to draw visitation to major museums and galleries, but often the most interesting cultural objects in these buildings are held in their vast collections.

In so-called Australia, the practice of collections in themselves are tethered strongly to colonialism. A means by which British settlers pilfered important artifacts from communities to research and understand other cultures, as well as for possession due to their perceived aesthetic value.

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