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Reproduced courtesy of Ann Thomson

Sea Passage

Date: 2013
Overall: 1150 × 1900 × 460 mm
Medium: Palm husk, metal, turtle sheel, marine twine
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Copyright: © Ann Thomson
Object Name: Sculpture
Object No: 00054530

User Terms

    A sculpture titled 'Sea Passage' by Ann Thomson comprising of two pieces of palm husk, one in the shape of a canoe. At the end of the lower husk is a piece of turtle shell and all conected elements are suspended by metal chains.

    The flowing organic hull and robust metal bolts, rails and chains suggest a juxtaposition of elements form Indigenous canoes and colonial ships. Beneath the hull is a warm speckled form of a turtle and as the work is viewed from below it is as though we are experiencing the passage of Indigenous and European sea craft from a removed perspective beneath the water.
    SignificanceThis piece by Ann Thomson forms part of the East Coast Encounter exhibtion and is significant in providing a different perspective of first contact and European occupation in Australia.
    HistoryAnn Thomson’s canoe form with its flowing organic hull and robust metal bolts and chains presents an imagined juxtaposition of elements from Indigenous canoes and colonial ships. Beneath the hull is the speckled form of a turtle. As we look up at the work from below it is like viewing the passing of sea craft from beneath the water, just as a turtle might. At Cooktown turtles provided nourishment for the Europeans but were at the centre of tensions when they were taken indiscriminately without permission and not shared with the local people. It was not until a clan elder engaged in reconciliation with Cook and his crew that the situation was resolved.

    This work by Ann Thomson was produced for East Coast Encounter, a multi-arts initiative involving Australian Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists, writers and songwriters to re-imagine the encounter by Lieutenant James Cook and his crew with Indigenous people in 1770.

    Cook's voyage along the Australian east coast has become central to national historical narratives. The East Coast Encounter project asked artists to re-envisage this seminal journey by imaginatively exploring moments of contact between two world views during these encounters. It also brought these events into the present by incorporating artists' reflections on their relevance today, and their responses to visits to significant contact locations. Topics such as encounter, impact, differing perspectives, nature and culture and views of country are investigated.

    Additional Titles

    Collection title: East Coast Encounters collection

    Primary title: Sea Passage

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