Lines in the Sand - Botany Bay Stories From 1770
29 Mar 2008 - 11 May 2008
Examines first colonial contact with Australia from 1770 through historical artefacts and contemporary indigenous and non-indigenous art.
The first exhibition of its kind in the region of the foundational site of Botany Bay, Lines in the Sand examined understandings of the beginning of Australian national identity and many of the issues that remain just as unresolved today.
The exhibition illustrated various themes including the ongoing fascination with Captain Cook, issues arising from scientific and imperial objectives, possession and dispossession, the irreversible process of colonisation, and how these historical narratives have constructed differing national psyches for both Australia’s indigenous and non-indigenous peoples.
Lines in the Sand comprised colonial material and work by noted artists such as Sydney Parkinson, Joseph Lycett and Charles Rodius. Iconic paintings such as E. Phillips Fox’s Landing of Captain Cook at Botany Bay 1770 are also included. The Aboriginal perspective missing from historical narratives is eloquently articulated by leading contemporary artists including the late Michael Riley, Gordon Bennett, Tracey Moffatt, Brenda L. Croft, Daniel Boyd, Jonathan Jones, Clinton Nain and Dianne Jones.
As Botany Bay is such a historically contested site, Lines in the Sand considered parallel investigations by artists such as Guan Wei, Fiona MacDonald, Gary Carsley and Joan Ross. Curator Ace Bourke, a descendant of Phillip Gidley King who documented the first encounters with indigenous people in Botany Bay in 1788, also considers his relationship to these histories by including his own family narrative.
Ace Bourke is a leading curator known for his work with contemporary Aboriginal artists. He has curated many important exhibitions in Australia and abroad, and two of his landmark exhibitions preceding Lines in the Sands are Flesh & Blood: A Story of Sydney 1788-1998 (Museum of Sydney, 1998) and Eora: Mapping Indigenous Sydney 1770-1850 (co-curated with Keith Vincent Smith for the Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW, 2006). A comprehensive exhibition catalogue featuring essays by Djon Mundine, Keith Vincent Smith and Ace Bourke is available.
02 8536 5700