9 February 2017
Highly regarded Australian television reporter Jeff McMullen will lead a panel discussion about a stunning national exhibition called East Coast Encounter at the USC Gallery at 2pm on Saturday 25 February.
Mr McMullen, who was an ABC foreign correspondent and a reporter for Four Corners and Sixty Minutes, recorded the four-year development of the exhibition that uses Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspectives to reimagine the encounter between Captain James Cook’s crew and Aboriginal people in 1770.
The exhibition was developed by Sunshine Coast artists and curators and is currently touring the country before becoming part of the Australian National Maritime Museum’s permanent collection.
The public forum at USC’s Sippy Downs campus will feature several East Coast Encounter artists and will be held prior to an official opening at 3pm that will include a Kabi Kabi welcome to country.
Co-curated by John Waldron and USC Associate Professor of Art and Design Dr Lisa Chandler, the exhibition features works by more than 20 artists, musicians, filmmakers and writers who explore ideas about custodianship, communication and miscommunication, exchange, what it means to be “foreign”, and seeing through another person’s eyes.
Mr Waldron said the exhibition’s strong local links included works by photographer Michael Cook, multi-media artist Bianca Beetson and painter Peter Hudson, who initiated the exhibition idea from his childhood reminiscences of stories of the Glasshouse Mountains.
“Another link is a Kabi Kabi bark canoe created by Lyndon Davis, Brent Miller and Kerry Jones,” he said. “Many people associate the Endeavour ship with Cook’s voyage but Indigenous canoes present another side of the story.”
Dr Lisa Chandler said reimagining this significant historical encounter has helped promote cultural dialogue and reconciliatory understanding. She said a new translation of a Badtjala song in the exhibition describes the Endeavour sailing past K’gari (Fraser Island).
“USC has developed the project and is dedicated to community engagement and this exhibition combines Indigenous issues, historical research, creative practice and education,” she said.
The project is very close to the heart of Mr McMullen, who has campaigned around the world for decades to improve the health, education and human rights of Indigenous people.
His contribution to the exhibition is a 26-minute documentary of encounters by the artists and Indigenous communities along the east coast, including gatherings at Kamay/Botany Bay, the Glass House Mountains, K’gari/Fraser Island, Town of 1770, Magnetic Island, Yarrabah, the clan area of Waymburr or Cooktown and Bedanug/Possession Island.
The exhibition will be on show at the USC Gallery from 10am on Friday 17 February and will remain open until Saturday 25 March.
To register for the forum and official opening on 25 February, go to: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/panel-discussion-east-coast-encounter-tickets-30944866930.
Lead partners in the project are USC, Arts Queensland and the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts. Supporting partners are Sunshine Coast Council, Ian Thorpe Fountain for Youth, One Day Hill Publication, Museum & Gallery Services Qld and Blue Sky View.
— Terry Walsh
Artwork credit: Part of Undiscovered #4, by Michael Cook.