Responding to colonial images in the Art Gallery of Ballarat’s print collection, Squatters and Savages – a collaborative exhibition by artists Peter Waples-Crowe and Megan Evans brings together reflections on both colonisers and Indigenous people in a creative reimagining.
Waples-Crowe is Ngarigo and his work reflects on the representation of Aboriginal people in popular culture. Evans is of Scottish, Irish Welsh heritage, born on Wurundjeri land, and her work examines the role of her ancestors in the brutal history of this country.
In an essay that accompanies the exhibition, Professor Lynette Russell Director, Monash Indigenous Studies Centre states: “As each artist works with the contested and challenging subject material, the effect is that together they have produced an eloquent contemplation of the colonial period, its legacies and ongoing impact. Their works, both separate and collaborative, are greater than the sum of the parts.”
“Both have synthetically connected all sides of the frontier and cultural divide. They have shown us how we can move forward, recognize the pain, distrust and violence and interrogate it. These works push the audience beyond guilt, which is too often the default position of the non-Indigenous. It is easy to feel overwhelmed, and for the descendants of the “newcomers”, guilt can play a role.”
“However, the works here in Squatters and Savages shows that it is possible to move beyond that binary and they challenge us to do just that. Their works remind us that we are all one, with multiple perspectives, that collaboration can lead to mutual understandings, and that we can flesh out the skeleton of the past and breath new life into how we imagine it was.”
With such a rich collection of colonial images the Art Gallery of Ballarat is ideally placed to benefit from the collaboration of Peter Waples-Crowe and Megan Evans says Gordon Morrison, Director Art Gallery of Ballarat.
“The work produced takes a contemporary view of colonial occupation from either side of the frontier, influenced by the gross stereotyped images produced by the colonial mind that can be found in one of the largest collections of colonial prints in Australia,” says Morrison.
“With two different perspectives Waples-Crowe and Evans allow us to view the exhibition as both a European coloniser and as an Indigenous person faced with sudden and violent upheaval.”
Squatters and Savages: Peter Waples-Crowe and Megan Evans
Art Gallery of Ballarat, 40 Lydiard Street North, Ballarat
Exhibition continues to 16 July 2017
For more information, visit: www.artgalleryofballarat.com.au for details.
Image: Peter Waples-Crowe, Colonial Landscape, 2016 (detail)