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Colony: Australia 1770-1861 Frontier Wars

Colony: Australia 1770-1861 Frontier Wars


Originally published for the exhibitions Colony: Australia 1770-1861 and Colony: Frontier Wars held at the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia at Federation Square, Melbourne, 15 March - 15 July 2018

    NGV Australia hosted two complementary exhibitions that explored Australia’s complex colonial past and the art that emerged during and in response to this period. Presented concurrently, the two exhibitions, Colony: Australia 1770–1861 and Colony: Frontier Wars, offer two parallel experiences of the settlement of Australia.

    Drawing from public and private collections across the country, Colony: Australia 1770–1861 brings together the most important examples of art and design produced during this period and surveys the key settlements and development of life and culture in the colonies. Importantly, the exhibition acknowledges the impact of European settlement on Indigenous communities.

    Over 250 years have passed since James Cook and his crew set sail in the Endeavour to explore the Pacific. In 1770 they reached the east coast of a continent that has been inhabited for more than 65,000 years by many Indigenous groups with different languages and diverse cultures. Cook’s landing marked the beginning of a history that still has repercussions today, a history that both unites and divides Australia and highlights the continuing need for reconciliation. 

    Colony explores the immediate and far-reaching impact of British colonisation of Australia through historical, twentieth-century and contemporary art. Through 1000 essential pieces of our cultural heritage, this book highlights the confronting and complex perspectives of the shared history of First Peoples and European settlers. 

    Colony is an essential exploration of Australia’s complex colonial mindset: from the tragedies of a contested beginning to the conversations that allow us now to contemplate a better future. 

    Includes works by William Barak, Christian Thompson, Maree Clarke, Julie Gough and Brook Andrew, among many others. 

    ‘Art becomes a powerful force when it provokes us to think anew.’ – Tony Birch

    Edited by Cathy Leahy and Judith Ryan, with contributors
    Published August 2019
    373 pages 
    293mm x 237mm
    ISBN 9781760460502

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