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Reproduced courtesy of Shane Michael Howard

Solid Rock Sacred Ground, Possession Island, Queensland

Date: 2014
Overall: 555 × 550 × 20 mm
Overall: 555 × 555 × 20 mm
Medium: Pencil and watercolour on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Copyright: © Shane Michael Howard
Object Name: Drawing
Object No: 00054546
Related Place:Possession Island,

User Terms

    A drawing titled 'Solid Rock, Sacred Ground, Possession Island, Queensland' by Shane Michael Howard.
    The words in this piece come from the 1982 album “Spirit of Place” which Shane Howard recorded with his band “Goanna”. It was one of the first songs of its kind to approach the subject of Aboriginal rights in Australia.

    SignificanceThis work by Shane Michael Howard provides a contemporary non-Indigenous view of first contact and European occupation of Australia. It forms part of the East Coast Encounters exhibition.
    HistoryThis work by Shane Michael Howard 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.

    "There are a number of incidents in Cook’s journal where he conveniently edits the history or displays an inability to understand basic human courtesies. The example of the Aboriginal men coming on board the Endeavour in Cooktown and sighting the twelve turtles that Cook's men had caught, asking for two turtles and being refused by Cook's party, exemplifies Cook's misreading of human nature, an imperious disregard for generosity of spirit and a failure to respect the hints and recommendations of Lord Morton.
    When Governor Arthur Phillip arrived with the First Fleet of European Settlers in 1788, he comments in his diary that he suspects Cook or his party must have killed one of the local inhabitants, so fearful were the Aboriginal people of the new arrivals.
    There is no doubt that Cook was a great navigator and seaman and those achievements are extraordinary. But for all his great and many achievements, he failed to navigate the human heart and achieve a settlement with the local indigenous population of Australia. In fact, reading Lord Morton's hints, you realise that Cook ignored his written advice. Despite his knowledge to the contrary, he chose to claim the East Coast of Australia for Britain in the context of Terra Nullius. This single and simple lie set in motion an unfolding catastrophe for Aboriginal Australia." - Shane Howard

    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Solid Rock Sacred Ground, Possession Island, Queensland

    Collection title: East Coast Encounters collection

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