26 Views of Uluru

Alex Byrne
EXHIBITION  RUNS
   
January
   
23
 -  
February
   
3
...they present both an artistic critique of Australia’s colonial and postcolonial history and attempt a corrective to the oblivion of Indigenous Australia in our literary classics, a whitewashing that continues to shape our public discourse.

INFORMATION

Uluru epitomises the spirit of Australia’s ancient land and people in this series of 26 etchings and aquatints by Alex Byrne. Accompanied by several distressed books, they present both an artistic critique of Australia’s colonial and postcolonial history and attempt a corrective to the oblivion of Indigenous Australia in our literary classics, a whitewashing that continues to shape our public discourse.

 

Referencing Katsushika Hokusai’s famous series of woodblock prints, Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, the etchings and aquatints present a white Australian’s graphic interrogation of the shameful national history of white-black relations. From the inscription of new names onto the land to ‘dispersal’ of peoples, removing children, forbidding language and ‘intervention’ into contemporary communities, White Australia has attempted to destroy, diminish and demean Black Australia. Few whites have recognised – and recognise – the courage and resilience of the response to that wilful ignorance and brutality.

The exhibition challenges attitudes that continue to be widely held on the eve of the 250th anniversary in 2020 of the charting and claiming of Australia’s east coast by James Cook. Despite his achievements as a great navigator and mapmaker, Cook opened the Pacific to colonial exploitation and oppression and he has come to be viewed as a symbol of the invasion of traditional lands and cultures that followed.

 

In Australia, that invasion was followed by ‘the great Australian silence’ about Indigenous people and their cruel dispossession. Our writers served that purpose when they ignored, minimised or disparaged first nation experience and culture. This exhibition challenges that silence via the prints and by showing a random sample of  literary classics that have been ‘distressed’ by including pop-ups and the most relevant Indigenous language to ‘correct’ each book’s omissions.

Uluru epitomises the spirit of Australia’s ancient land and people in this series of 26 etchings and aquatints by Alex Byrne. Accompanied by several distressed books, they present both an artistic critique of Australia’s colonial and postcolonial history and attempt a corrective to the oblivion of Indigenous Australia in our literary classics, a whitewashing that continues to shape our public discourse.

 

Referencing Katsushika Hokusai’s famous series of woodblock prints, Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, the etchings and aquatints present a white Australian’s graphic interrogation of the shameful national history of white-black relations. From the inscription of new names onto the land to ‘dispersal’ of peoples, removing children, forbidding language and ‘intervention’ into contemporary communities, White Australia has attempted to destroy, diminish and demean Black Australia. Few whites have recognised – and recognise – the courage and resilience of the response to that wilful ignorance and brutality.

The exhibition challenges attitudes that continue to be widely held on the eve of the 250th anniversary in 2020 of the charting and claiming of Australia’s east coast by James Cook. Despite his achievements as a great navigator and mapmaker, Cook opened the Pacific to colonial exploitation and oppression and he has come to be viewed as a symbol of the invasion of traditional lands and cultures that followed.

 

In Australia, that invasion was followed by ‘the great Australian silence’ about Indigenous people and their cruel dispossession. Our writers served that purpose when they ignored, minimised or disparaged first nation experience and culture. This exhibition challenges that silence via the prints and by showing a random sample of  literary classics that have been ‘distressed’ by including pop-ups and the most relevant Indigenous language to ‘correct’ each book’s omissions.

FEATURED  WORKS

ALEX BYRNE, CLEARING, 2019, ETCHING & AQUATINT, 25 X 35 CM
ALEX BYRNE, END OF THE CHAIN, 2019, ETCHING & AQUATINT, 25 X 35 CM
ALEX BYRNE, THE WAVE, 2019, ETCHING & AQUATINT, 25 X 35 CM 
ALEX BYRNE, WITH THE CONSENT OF THE NATIVES, 2019, ETCHING & AQUATINT, 25 X 35 CM
ALEX BYRNE, MAN SHY, 2019, DISTRESSED BOOK, 18 X 15CM

OTHER  EXHIBITIONS