G27 – Unsettlement: The relationship between first and subsequent peoples

…the display of Anthropocene artefacts from early 21st century Australia, comprised of the work of both Indigenous and settler artists and assembled to illustrate waparrmarnu-ngurra, which translates loosely as “sadness for country”, will exhibit a spectrum of shared concerns and similar processes that will reflect the uncertain times we live in and the precarious future we anticipate.

Kim Mahood Objects for an Unknown Future Museum

Issue 27 in June 2022 will consider the relationship between peoples and cultures that differ according to the original inhabitation of the land. This begins with the logic of colonisation, which involved the invasion of other people’s lands justified by a belief in cultural and racial superiority. With time, the logic of colonisation begins to unravel. Indigenous cultures do not disappear when confronted with a more “developed” civilisation. As well, the project of importing a foreign culture into a new land loses momentum as myths of empire fade and ancient local cultures re-emerge. Places once named to mirror the other side of the world give way to Indigenous names: Aotearoa reemerges from New Zealand.

Yet the descendants of the colonisers remain, followed by waves of migrants. They are often the majority population and dominate positions of power. The rightful path now is to redress this by supporting Indigenous communities and giving over positions of power to their representatives.

What then for settlers? How can settlers strengthen their relationship to land without continuing to usurp Indigenous culture? And for the first peoples, what is to be gained from the colonising culture that doesn’t involve subjugation?

This issue brings together the binary of first and subsequent peoples. How can they be in dialogue?

We look to makers who create enduring products of this conversation – who recover lost techniques, reanimate museum artefacts, find respectful connections to land with exotic materials, and forge Indigenous-settler collaborations.

This issue has special relevance to the colonial settler nations of the South. But it can apply to places of Indigenous presence elsewhere, from the USA to Scandinavia.

You can find guidelines for submitting a story here. The deadline for stories is 1 May 2022. Please let us know in advance of your idea here. If you’d like to be a pathfinder and share the development of this issue, please send an email