Colonial history’s impact on indigenous people a theme in new exhibition
The tragic impact of colonial settlement on indigenous Australians is a key theme in a new exhibition at Pātaka Art +
Danie Mellor: Pleasure and Vexation – the strata and spectacle of history, opens on 27 May and will be the first major
exhibition of works by this award-winning Australian artist to be shown in New Zealand.
Pātaka contemporary art curator Mark Hutchins-Pond says Mellor is considered a key figure in contemporary Indigenous
“With both indigenous and non-indigenous heritage, his work stresses the significance of both Indigenous Australians and
colonial histories, the need to talk about their interaction, and the issues that arise from those two things being
parallel,” he says.
“The presence of indigenous Australians in his work draws attention to the catastrophic and tragic historical
implications of colonialism, including the removal of indigenous people from their traditional country.”
The exhibition will feature more than 20 outstanding works, many large in scale, including some loaned from Australian
museum and gallery collections.
Mellor uses his work to show lingering cultural effects of Australia’s colonial past.
“The central focus of my work and research has been engaged with history, and the way in which environments have changed
through the process of cultural interaction generally, and colonial histories in particular.
Mellor says this is explored by looking at the ways the indigenous people and culture have been affected by settlement
in Australia, which opens up a dialogue about a number of other key themes as an important part of that discussion.
Pātaka director Reuben Friend says it’s exciting to have Mellor’s work in New Zealand for the first time.
“This is significant work with insights into the history of our neighbours across the Tasman, but will also resonate
with local audiences as we reflect on aspects of our own cultural framework and history.”
The exhibition runs until 19 August.