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Victoria Cooper+Doug Spowart Blog

1788–January 25th, the next day, and now

with 4 comments

 

In 2010 we wanted to make an artwork to comment and reflect on Australia Day and some of our feelings about the origins of the date – the implications of that event and the repercussions that we live with and navigate today. Through a scorchingly hot day in Toowoomba we worked with cyanotype solutions and selected objects – some from our home and others sourced from the food scraps from a local seafood smorgasbord restaurant on the day.

The work that we did that day emerged as the collaborative artists’ book, a broadsheet we titled, Australian Banquet, January 25/ 26, 1788.

 

A statement about the artwork

Across Australia over the January 26th long weekend, people prepare, cook and consume food to mark this day in history.

For us, this work is our response to, and in recognition of, the ‘turning of the page’ in Australian history that this date represents. One day, January 25th 1788, Aboriginal people feasted on a diverse banquet of bush tucker as they had for thousands of years. The next day, the country was transformed by a new paradigm represented in this work by the table setting of the First Fleet.

Australia Day, for us, is an important time to acknowledge the First Peoples’ perspective and their knowing of land, culture and history and how it should be recognised as underpinning the diversity and identity of contemporary Australia. We, as descendants of European people, are seeking to understand and know more about our place within the longer history of this land.

The work is to be viewed/read in a display context with a spotlight directed onto the work.

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View 1: Australian Banquet, January 25/ 26, 1788

The 25th of January side of the broadsheet is viewed and contemplated.

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View 2: Australian Banquet, January 25/ 26, 1788

The broadsheet is then turned over to view the 26th of January side.

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View 3: Australian Banquet, January 25/ 26, 1788

Finally the broadsheet is held up to the light – the complex interrelationship between the two visual references to be seen and considered.

 

 

BOOK DESCRIPTION: A unique state artists’ book broadsheet

TITLE: Australian Banquet January 25/26, 1788

MEDIA: Double-sided cyanotype image in rice paper

DIMENSIONS: 37.6 x 77cm

PLACE & DATE MADE: Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia, 2010

EDITION: 7 variations

 

EXHIBITIONS & AWARDS:

2014 EXHIBITED: Alternative Imaging – Curated by Dawne Fahey at Two Doors Gallery, The Rocks, Sydney

2011 SHORTLISTED: Southern Cross University Artists’ Book Award, Lismore. Judge: Ross Woodrow

2011 EXHIBITED: BLUE – Arts Council Toowoomba members exhibition, Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery

2010 FINALIST: Josephine Ulrick & Win Schubert Photography Award,

………………………Gold Coast City Gallery. Judge: Judy Annear

COLLECTIONS: Australian Library of Art, State Library of Queensland

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4 Responses

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  1. What an exceptional work! Your use of the medium to express the complexity of the issue is rarely used so well. Congratulations and thank you.

    AmandaWW

    January 27, 2019 at 12:48 pm

    • Thank you Amanda… For us it is an important work and the cyanotype and its transparency enabled an opportunity for the story to be told in a visual way…

      Cooper+Spowart

      January 27, 2019 at 12:58 pm

  2. Hi Doug, Vic,
    Are you still around Lismore? Wanted to invite you to an upcoming event at SCU. Can you email me please.

    Jan Davis

    January 28, 2019 at 1:58 pm

    • Hi Jan…. Thanks for making contact … unfortunately we were only with Jo and Darren for a few days… We rae back on the Gold coast now and heading up to Brisbane towards the end of the week…
      Cheers, and all the BEST for 2019…. Vicky+Doug

      Cooper+Spowart

      January 28, 2019 at 9:42 pm


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