Working in Asia: No place for the individual

The artists as individual, innovator or iconoclast are Western archetype unhelpful in working with Asian art.

In the third in a series, Alison Carroll moves from Asian concepts of time and Asian philosophies of space, to examining how different values of community and individual play out in cross-cultural art exchange.

Christine Nicholls, writing in The Conversation in July 2013, describes the way Central Desert Aboriginal culture inculcates an awareness of relational space into the smallest babies. They nod to directions in relation to themselves, rather than an abstracted, mathematical understanding of an area. The nature of the whole implies that all parts have a place within it—it is a communal understanding, with each individual having a place within society.

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Alison Carroll
About the Author
Alison Carroll has been an academic, critic, writer, curator and administrator of art exhibitions and artist exchanges with Asia for over 30 years. She has curated over 40 exhibitions, including Out of Asia, the first exhibition to include Australian artists’ attitudes to Asia, in 1989, and the first significant inclusion of contemporary Asian art at an Adelaide Festival, in 1994. In 1990 she established and was Director (until June 2010) of the Arts Program at Asialink, University of Melbourne, the main program for arts exchange between Asia and Australia for visual arts, performing arts, literature and arts management practice. She published a major book on 20th century Asian art The Revolutionary Century; Art in Asia 1900-2000 (Macmillan Australia) in 2010. She received the Visual Arts Board of the Australia Council’s Emeritus Medal 2006 and was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2010 for her work at Asialink.