Michael Cook’s new series entitled Civilised, featured at the 7th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art in Brisbane, looks at four European countries that visited Australia before and in the early stages of colonialisation: The Netherlands, Spain, England and France. It asks ‘what makes a person civilised?’ and suggests what a different historical settlement may have been like if those Europeans had arrived in Australia and realised that the Indigenous Peoples were indeed civilised.
Captain Cook wrote “these people may truly be said to be in the pure state of nature, and may appear to some to be the most wretched upon the earth; but in reality they are far happier than … we Europeans.”
APT7 marks the twentieth anniversary of the APT series which is the only recurring exhibition to present the contemporary art of Asia, the Pacific and Australia. APT7 will feature new and recent work by 77 artists and artist groups from 27 countries across the region, including painting, installation, sculpture and photography by Indigenous Australian artists; new works by artists from Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Vietnam; and a special focus on West Asia, with works and major commissions by artists from Turkey through the Middle East to Iran and Central Asia.