Rodney Gooch’s Role and Influence in the Development of the Utopia Art Movement: A History of the Art Movement and Rodney Gooch’s Role within it

By Chrischona Schmidt.

Published by The Arts Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In the late 1970s the women of Utopia, Central Australia, began creating batik as part of an adult education program. A decade later painting on canvas was introduced to the artists by the art coordinator at the time Rodney Gooch and a major shift to working with that medium followed. Since the beginning, art and craft making have become some of the major activities in the community with the artworks being nationally and internationally recognised.
Although over the three decades many different art coordinators have worked with the artists from the Utopia community, no one has left such a mark as Rodney Gooch in regards to the interaction of the artists with the wider art world as well as in terms of the development and innovation within the art works. This paper examines the particularities of Gooch’s engagement with the artists by contextualising his visions tangible in the group projects into the broader history of the art movement.

Keywords: Aboriginal Art, Central Australia, Anthropology of Art, Visual Anthropology, Art History, Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Utopia, Rodney Gooch

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 5, Issue 6, pp.149-162. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 3.924MB).

Chrischona Schmidt

PhD Candidate, Research School of Humanities, and the Arts at the Australian National University, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Chrischona is currently doing her PhD at the Research School of Humanities and the Arts. And this research was funded by The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. Her focus is the art movement of the Central Australian community Utopia and its development over the past 30 years. Before coming to the ANU, Chrischona undertook her studies in Freiburg (Germany), Paris and Perugia as well as Sydney. She is particularly interested in a cross-cultural art history and the anthropology of art.


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