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Reproduced courtesy of Reg Mombassa

Jim Cook Mugshot

Date: 2013
Display dimensions: 730 × 590 × 40 mm
Overall: 730 × 572 × 40 mm
Medium: Charcoal and coloured pencil on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Copyright: © Reg Mombassa
Object Name: Drawing
Object No: 00054583

User Terms

    A charcoal and coloured pencil drawing by Reg Mombassa (Chris O'Doherty) titled 'Jim Cook Mugshot'.
    This work depicts a portrait of James Cook with text reading "Jim Cook - executed for armed robbery by the people of the South Pacific - Feb 14th 1779".
    In this work, Mombassa presents Cook in the style of a 'Wanted' poster, as a member of a criminal gang of well-armed Europeans called empires who rob people with less military power of their lands, food and minerals. This 'Jim' Cook is a hardned law breaker, not the heroic explorer that the viewer is used to seeing.
    SignificanceThis painting by Reg Mombassa gives a contemporary perspective on first contact and the impact of European colonisation. The painting, as part of East Coast Encounters, is a voice in a shared story, re-imagined by Australian Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists, to encourage cultural dialogue and promote reconciliatory understanding.
    HistoryThis work by Reg Mombassa 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.

    "James Cook has come to symbolise many ideas, both positive and negative. Instead of the familiar portraits of Cook as a thoughtful, assured naval man, Reg Mombassa depicts him as a tough law breaker. The artist presents an alternative perspective to heroic narratives of Cook’s voyages and reflects on the impact of the encounters. "
    - East Coast Encounter.

    "It was inevitable that an enormous sun bleached barrel of potential wealth that was sparsely inhabited would be grabbed by one or another criminal gang of well armed Europeans. These criminal gangs are called Empires. Cook may have been a decent man, a brave explorer and a relatively progressive sea captain, but he was still a gang member who was ‘executed’ by one of his victims."
    - Reg Mombassa, East Coast Encounter.

    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

    Primary title: Jim Cook Mugshot

    Collection title: East Coast Encounters collection

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