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© Garth Lena/ Licensed by Viscopy, 2017

Man and Woman in Canoe

Date: 2011
Dimensions:
Overall: 240 × 340 × 140 mm
Medium: Steel
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with funds from the Sid Faithfull and Christine Sadler program supporting Contemporary Indigenous Maritime Heritage in Far North Queensland and the Torres Strait Islands through the ANM Foundation
Object Copyright: © Garth Lena
Classification:Art
Object Name: Sculpture
Object No: 00054527

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    Description
    A sculpture titled 'Man and Woman in Canoe' by Garth Lena.

    A male and a female are seated in a canoe filled with fish they have speared. They face each other, absorbed and focused on their task, searching for a place to camp and cook their catch. When Cook and his crew reached Botany Bay they observed the Aboriginal people fishing from canoes but were surprised when local people continued their activities, ignoring the arrival of the visitors. In Cooktown it took time for Bama approached the Endeavour in their canoes and when the Europeans proffered gifts, it was only fish that attracted their interest. Fish then became the currency of exchange and communication, because the locals returned the next day with a fish from the Europeans in a gesture of reciprocity.
    SignificanceThis sculpture by Garth Lena is significant in providing an Indigenous view of first contact and European occupation of Australia.
    HistoryThis work by Garth Lena 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.

    In 'Man and Woman in Canoe' and 'Arrival 2011', Garth Lena focuses on the role of fish and watercraft in the daily life of coastal Indigenous peoples. Fish and watercraft also feature in the encounter story.
    When Cook and his crew reached Botany Bay they observed Indigenous people fishing from canoes but were surprised when the local inhabitants continued their activities, ignoring the strange visitors. In Cooktown it took time before Bama approached the ENDEAVOUR in their canoes and when the Europeans offered gifts, it was only fish which attracted their interest. Fish then became a currency of exchange and communication, because the locals returned the next day with a reciprocal gift of fish for the Europeans.
    Additional Titles

    Collection title: East Coast Encounters collection

    Assigned title: Man and Woman in Canoe

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