Unlearning Cook, 2016 - 2017

All knowledge is situated and therefore partial.[1]

– Aileen Moreton-Robinson


Captain James Cook remains an enduring and dominant figure within the Australian imagination. The impact of Cook’s three voyages is felt throughout the Pacific and in his home country of England. The artworks in this project have been developed in response to notions of unlearning Eurocentric colonial narratives in order to encourage discourse into underrepresented indigenous histories. By using a variety of photographic methods, the creative works seek to examine the photographic medium’s role in colonisation and question the monological narratives signified through colonial monuments.


[1] Aileen Moreton-Robinson, Talkin' up to the White Woman: Indigenous Women and Feminism (St. Lucia: University of Queensland Press, 2000), xxii.


2017 VCA Art Masters Exhibition
Baggaley Room, Victorian College of the Arts, Southbank, Melbourne, Australia
4-10 December
Photographic documentation by Vivian Cooper Smith

Tessa Laird's essay (De)Colonial Blues was written to accompany the 2018 exhibition of Unlearning Cook at Kings Artist Run Initiative, Melbourne. The essay can be downloaded here.