Invasion places an imaginative eye on Australian colonial history and turns around the dominant view, taking alien creatures into iconic London-based cityscapes, with white urban residents their victims.
Cook’s images express the shock that enveloped the Australian continent when European people appeared on Aboriginal shores. Aboriginals as aliens, sci-fi scaled animals—featherless birds, super sized grubs, giant lizards, possums on UFOs, laser shooting fembots, and clouds of rainbow lorikeets—arrive into urban London, the ‘mother’ country, and wreak havoc. Within the broad narrative are mini narratives that speak to the past, historical references that tease out and reverse the racist practices imposed on Aboriginals. The drama of such an event heightened with the use of vintage-inspired B-grade horror movie aesthetic—an ironic ‘spoofy’ edge.
The exhibition comprises five works from the Invasion series acquired by Benalla Art Gallery in 2021, having been donated by the artist through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program.