Michael Cook is a Brisbane-based photomedia artist of Bidjara heritage. Cook’s photographs restage colonial-focused histories and re-image the contemporary reality of indigenous populations. Touching on the discriminatory nature of society, his images muddle racial and social roles ‘painting’ a picture of a societal structure reversed. Cook invites viewers to speculate Indigenous cultures living at the forefront, even a majority, rather than manipulated to live within the confines of a white man’s world. Cook’s images challenge our ingrained belief systems yet do not offer judgement – they are observational, asking questions without proffering neat prescriptive conclusions.
Significant career highlights include The British Museum, London, UK; MOPA, San Francisco, USA; the Musee d’ethnographie de Geneve, Switzerland; National Gallery of Singapore; AAMU Museum of Contemporary Aboriginal Art, The Netherlands; Musee de la Civilisation, Quebec, Canada; Fukiyama Musuem of Art, Japan, 13th Dong Gang International Photo Festival, South Korea; Oceanographic Museum of Monaco. Cook’s work was included in Personal Structures – Crossing Borders at Palazzo Mora during the 56th Venice Biennale.
Cook’s work has been acquired by institutions including the British Museum, National Gallery of Australia, Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art, National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of New South Wales and Art Gallery of Western Australia.