Unlearning Cook, Part Three [4.00pm 19 October - 9.30am 1 November 2016] was recently announced as the winner of the Best Work by a CCP Member at the 2016 Centre for Contemporary Photography's Salon. This work is part of a long-term project and my MFA research. Thank you to the CCP for your support of photographic artists and to Michaels Camera for sponsoring this prize. Thank you to the judges of the Salon this year - Janina Green, Dylan Rainforth and CCP's Michelle Mountain. The exhibition continues until 17 December 2016.
Master of Fine Arts
This new photographic work, created this year as part of my MFA research, was selected as the winner of the 2016 Linden Postcard Show. Thank you to Linden New Art for their support of the arts. Thank you to the anonymous donor who generously funds the first prize and to this year's judges Michael Brennan (LUMA), Emma Buskowsky Cox (Castlemaine Art Museum), Adam Harding (Horsham Regional Art Gallery) and Pat Mackle (Avant Card). Congratulations to all the other winners and to all the exhibiting artists. The exhibition is open until 29 January 2017 at Linden New Art.
In April, two works from my ongoing research that critiques the voyages of Captain Cook were featured in an exhibition at the Land Dialogues conference at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga, Wiradjuri Country, New South Wales. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the conference and deliver a paper as originally intended. As I was born in Wagga, and grew up not far from there, I had been looking forward to returning and speaking about my research. I hope that another opportunity such as this will arise in the future.
In 1770, Lieutenant James Cook of the Royal Navy sailed HMB Endeavour northwards along the East Coast of the continent now known as Australia. Cook and his crew were on their way home to England, after what would be his first voyage to the Pacific. He had travelled through areas theretofore almost wholly unknown to his people. While charting the coastline of Eastern Australia he supplanted existing place names with names more palatable to English sensibilities. This voyage led to an influx of migration to the region that resulted in the systematic dispossession, exploitation and colonisation of the existing landowners and their nations.
I began work on this photographic and research project in 2012 after hiking to Kealakekua Bay in Hawai‘i, where Captain Cook was killed in 1779. I photographed monuments and locations relating to Cook’s voyages while on the islands of Hawai‘i and Kaua‘i. In 2013 in Aotearoa New Zealand, I photographed monuments to Cook on the South Island. In 2014 I travelled on land along the East Coast of Australia, retracing Cook’s 1770 voyage along this coast and documenting the places photographically. I made use of Cook’s journals and charts to approximate locations and again documented monuments. In 2015 I attended the re-enactment festivals that coincide with the anniversaries of Cook’s landings in Gooragan Country (Town of Seventeen Seventy) and Gan Gaar (Cooktown). I am currently continuing this research as a Master of Fine Arts candidate at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne.
This year and next I am undertaking a research degree at the Victorian College of the Arts, a faculty of the University of Melbourne. I was recently successful in completing a progress review of my research which means that my candidature is now confirmed and I can continue making art and conducting self-directed research with the University's support. My supervisor throughout the Master of Fine Arts degree is artist, Mark Shorter.
The research project I proposed for my MFA forms part of the my ongoing critique of Captain Cook and his three Pacific voyages, a project I began in Hawai‘i in 2012. The practice-led research conducted during the Masters programme will explore the application of decolonising methodologies to artistic practice and the possibilities that emerge as a result. It is my hope that this conceptual framework will provide a means to reinterpret historical events and signifiers of colonisation. The theoretical and practice-led research will result in a photographic outcome and written thesis with major concerns of the project being First Nation sovereignty, colonisation, decolonisation, whiteness and the myth of Terra Nullius.