Position Doubtful: Mapping Landscapes And Memories by Kim MahoodPosition Doubtful: Mapping Landscapes And Memories by Kim Mahood

Position Doubtful: Mapping Landscapes And Memories

byKim Mahood

Paperback | March 23, 2018

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Imagine the document you have before you is not a book but a map. It is well-used, creased, and folded, so that when you open it, no matter how carefully, something tears and a line that is neither latitude nor longitude opens in the hidden geography of the place you are about to enter. Since the publication of her prize-winning memoir, Craft for a Dry Lake, in 2000, writer and artist Kim Mahood has been returning to the Tanami desert country in far north-western Australia where, as a child, she lived with her family on a remote cattle station. The land is timeless, but much has changed: the station has been handed back to its traditional owners; the mining companies have arrived; and Aboriginal art has flourished.Comedy and tragedy, familiarity and uncertainty are Mahood's constant companions as she immerses herself in the life of a small community and in groundbreaking mapping projects. What emerges in Position Doubtful is a revelation of the significance of the land to its people - and of the burden of history.Mahood is an artist of astonishing versatility. She works with words, with paint, with installations, and with performance art. Her writing about her own work and collaborations, and about the work of the desert artists, is profoundly enlightening, making palpable the link between artist and country.This is a beautiful and intense exploration of friendships, landscape, and homecoming. Written with great energy and humour, Position Doubtful offers a unique portrait of the complexities of black and white relations in contemporary Australia.
Kim Mahood is an award-winning Australian writer and artist. Her 2000 memoir, Craft for a Dry Lake, won the NSW Premier's Award for non-fiction and the Age Book of the Year for non-fiction. Her artwork is held in state, territory, and regional collections. Position Doubtful was shortlisted for the 2017 Victorian Premier's Award for n...
Title:Position Doubtful: Mapping Landscapes And MemoriesFormat:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 8.25 × 5.25 × 0.73 inPublished:March 23, 2018Publisher:Scribe PublicationsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1925321681

ISBN - 13:9781925321685

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Editorial Reviews

My book of the year ... If anyone's written more beautifully and modestly about this country and its people I'm not aware of it. I think it's a treasure.''Sometimes lyrical, sometimes grumpy, sometimes elegiac, but always frank, Position Doubtful ranges across the wide meaning of country, extending past landscape into story, family, history, politics, geology, art, memory, and belonging. It is a vivid and memorable book.'' Position Doubtful is entrancing and different; it is poetic, gritty, confronting, and inspiring all at once, and offers a rare and valuable window onto Aboriginal Australia.''This is a book for reading and re-reading, a revealing excavation of our place and times, grounded in the desert, but of broad relevance to all Australians who think about our relationship to country, to its Indigenous peoples, to our shared history and to one another.'' Position Doubtful leaps straight onto the shelf occupied by the great accounts of inland Australia. Theatrical, confessional, masterly descriptive, it is hard to find one word to sum up the achievement. Possibly it lies in the word character: in the brave character of the author herself, and in the spacious, beautiful, and unforgiving character of the Australian landscape and the people who dramatically take on its shape in these pages.''An extraordinary excavation of the relationship, past and present, between settlers and indigenous Australians, deeply grounded in this alluring tract of desert, but with relevance for us all.''Kim Mahood is an astonishing treasure: an accomplished artist and writer who is equally well-equipped to navigate both Aboriginal and settler Australia. Her lyrical yet unsentimental memoir is a story of honouring the knowledge that two cultures have mapped upon each other, a lesson the entire globe needs to learn.''Kim Mahood writes with insight and without condescension of the indigenous community's struggle to maintain traditions and cohesion in the face of marginal existence, poverty, health problems and rampant alcoholism. [ Position Doubtful ], despite containing a great deal of death and desolation, is a ringing affirmation of life in all its messy, muddled, half-resolved possibilities.''Mahood brings a formidable intelligence to her work as a writer and an artist, but also a sly humour here and an almost uncanny talent for observation ... By charting these wanderings with such eloquence and scrupulous self-examination, she has created in Position Doubtful a true map of the heart.''With compassion, wit and elegance, Mahood takes us to a landscape known by white people only as a barren and alien place of no value - except to mine for minerals. She shows us another way to look at it, through the eyes of the traditional owners as well as the perspective of an artist ... Position Doubtful suggests a way forward, beyond us-and-them, based on sharing across cultural boundaries.''There is something profound about the directness and clarity with which Kim Mahood writes about her art, and her life, in particular her relationship with the land she grew up in and on, and her relationship to the indigenous people who have lived on that land much longer than she. As Mahood writes of - quite literally - building a map that is both geographic, social and cultural, you feel that she has, ever so gently, shifted your view of the world. Position Doubtful is a remarkable, intelligent and mature work. I really loved it.''The beauty of the landscape is explored through ... indigenous and kartiya perspectives ... astute and compassionate.''An immersive, emotional and intelligent exploration into the relationship between artist, landscape, and land.'' Position Doubtful attests to an eye that is unfailing and a lifetime of looking ... She sees what she sees, and comes to her own conclusions ... Powerful.''Mahood is a writer of country. Her chapters unfurl like the ribbons of red dunes. She says 'this is a kind of love story', and so it is, a love of land, not purchased acreages, but country, birth country. Apart from family and close friends, she says, 'there has been no other love in my life as sustained as the one I felt for a remote pocket of inland Australia'. Country can get its fingers around your entrails, particularly if it owns them. That grip makes your movements cautiouswith the knowledge that, while you might move away for a time, the elasticity of your own gut drags you back. Mahood is dragged back. It can be excruciating reading the words of a non-Aboriginal person recording their impressions of a brief visit to Aboriginal community, but Mahood belongs to country and it blesses her with that most refined human sensitivity, doubt. She is not tempted to improve or judge the communities of her country because she prefers to love them; the whole buckled, lovely and jumbled chaos of the land. The rich pulse of country makes the heart quake with recognition. Position Doubtful has the scale and delicacy of desert and records genuine Aboriginal voice and emotion. Its breadth means that it is frequently visited by death but Mahood records those deaths with solemn grace while continuing to rejoice in the vibrance of the land with a calm and dignified joy. A book for people who love this country as if it were their mother.'' Position Doubtful probes through layers of understanding of the people and land where she was born, across the Tanami Desert to the East Kimberley; it is rich with insights delivered with sensitivity and honesty.''[Mahood] is a talented writer whose mastery of the language is absolute. The combination of an artist's eye, a mapmaker's precision, and a wordsmith's playfulness makes for a work of captivating beauty ... a significant and timely work.''A shimmering, evocative memoir [that is] required reading for anyone interested in contemporary Aboriginal Australia ... Position Doubtful opens the heart to understanding.'' Position Doubtful is delivered with such verve for accuracy that everything seems to have light in it - points of illumination enhanced by the light of the country. And the figure of the author, who often describes herself in the third person, is the guiding light, a pilot on her inland sea. As Mahood modestly maps her terrain, its inner and outer worlds at once fragile, transitory, enduring, Position Doubtful acquires the aura of a classic.A book of extraordinary wisdom and subtlety ... the writing is so good that nothing feels forced.'