‘Nobody’s darlings’?
Edith May Fry and Australian expatriate art in the 1920s
in Art and migration
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During the 1920s, in the minds of many Australians, Britain was still considered ‘Home’, and London the centre of the Empire. Australian artists were not fully accepted in the British art scene and, although they still identified as Australians, were often ostracised by their homeland. Australian cultural custodians at the time considerably marginalised expatriatism in favour of nationalistic and patriarchal narratives, restricting the definition of Australian art as being strictly produced within the geographical borders of Australia. However, as early as the 1920s, a number of individuals sought to assert Australian art as existing beyond the geographical boundaries of Australia, and defended the work of Australian expatriate artists who travelled to Europe. Among them, Edith Fry championed the tradition of Antipodean expatriatism, publishing articles and organising exhibitions to promote the achievements of Australian artists abroad. The aim of this chapter is to demonstrate how she stressed the significance of expatriate art in the construction of transnational culture, bringing the role of expatriate artists as agents into the network of commerce, experience, and representation of modernity, and as creating an art that transcends national boundaries.

Art and migration

Revisioning the borders of community

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