The luscious, large-scale images re-present the colonial project from an Indigenous perspective. Undiscovered provides a contemporary Indigenous perspective of European settlement in Australia, a land already populated by its original people. Cook’s artworks shift roles and perspectives around the notion of European ‘discovery’ of Australia, reflecting upon our habitual ways of thinking and seeing our history.
This series questions who really discovered Australia while making reference to what was always here, what has been introduced and the effect this had on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, their culture and country.
The scene is set on the shoreline looking out to sea, the site that bought the first ships to Australia. The photos depict an Aboriginal man role-switching with his colonisers, at times he is dressed in full colonial style clothing, other times the colonial clothing is removed revealing the strength and resilience of Indigenous Australians before and after colonisation. Throughout the series the man is joined by some of our Australian native animals as well as modern introduced objects. In some photos a sailing ship appears on the horizon a strong reminder of European colonisation.
A touring exhibition from the Australian Maritime Museum.