Art academic co-curates national exhibition | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Art academic co-curates national exhibition

A University of the Sunshine Coast academic has co-curated a national art exhibition which uses Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspectives to reimagine the encounter between Captain James Cook’s crew and Aboriginal people in 1770.

USC Senior Lecturer in Art and Design Dr Lisa Chandler said the East Coast Encounter exhibition of works by 20 prominent artists, musicians and writers was so well received after it opened at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney last year that the museum decided to purchase the entire exhibition for their collection.

Sunshine Coast residents now have the opportunity to view this exciting exhibition, following its opening at the Caloundra Regional Gallery on 1 July. It will remain on display there until Sunday 16 August.

Dr Chandler and exhibition artists and curators will also speak at a forum chaired by renowned Australian journalist Jeff McMullen on Saturday 15 August. The exhibition has substantial Australia Council for the Arts funding.

Dr Chandler said the exhibition had strong Sunshine Coast links, including Coast-based co-curator John Waldron, photographer Michael Cook and Maleny artist Peter Hudson, who generated the idea from his childhood reminiscences of stories of the Glasshouse Mountains.

"Another local link is a Kabi Kabi bark canoe created by Lyndon Davis, Brent Miller and Kerry Jones," Dr Chandler said. "Many people associate the Endeavour ship with Cook’s voyage but Indigenous canoes present another side of the story."

Dr Chandler said Peter Hudson’s idea had grown into a major exhibition of considerable scope, using multiple points of view to present this shared story.

She said a new translation of a Badtjala song in the exhibition describes the Endeavour sailing past K’gari (Fraser Island), where USC now has a research centre.

"We’re all passionate about this creative project. We hope that by re-imagining this significant historical encounter the exhibition can promote cultural dialogue and reconciliatory understanding," she said.

"USC is dedicated to community engagement and this exhibition combines Indigenous issues, historical research, creative practice and education."

— Julie Schomberg

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