Date of Award

2003

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Education

Faculty

Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Tony Monk

Second Advisor

Dr Judith Dinham

Abstract

This Creative Arts Project investigates the relationship between expression in the visual arts and the process of acculturation. The focus of the study is my personal negotiation of this process. The descriptive study is about engagement with the organic world and its past and present dialogues within the ongoing process of acculturation. I have explored the connection between nature, culture and art using a phenomenological research method. The propositions that we do not see things as they are; we see things as we are (Talmud), and that as visual artists we are the 'architects of our own experience', (Eisner, 2001) are explored. The reflexive nature of visual arts activity is acknowledged and the impact of cultural influences and natural environment on the choice of subject matter is examined. My investigation of a new physical environment is facilitated through the medium of a third cultural aesthetic that makes reference to the art and design of Japan. The Project is divided into two parts. Part one is the thematic exhibition and part two is this exegesis that explains and supports the research. Documentation of the project also takes the form of visual diaries that record phenomena and explain design development through drawing and painting. The main research question is directed towards evidence of the reflexive nature of the acculturation process as manifested in the work of the researcher. It is: How is the process of acculturation manifested in the visual artworks of the individual who has entered a new physical and cultural environment? Whilst acknowledging that the acculturation process is unique to the individual I believe that phenomenon experienced in this way has value in classroom practice. Therefore the secondary question is: What implication does this have for the visual arts curriculum? The significance of this Creative Arts Project for the visual arts curriculum is seen in the interaction of culture, personal experience and environment as integral parts of the creative process. Through my own process I have found that there are connections between past and present life-worlds that influence expression in the visual arts. Heritage and experience of the natural environment are linked to this process. Exploration of these phenomena within the classroom may lead to a clearer understanding of the nuances of a new physical environment. This research has been influential in the development and production of curriculum material for a Western Australian educational institution. The materials are displayed as part of the thematic exhibition. It is hoped that the publicising of this research may be seen as having value for the development of a multicultural visual arts curriculum.

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