History and art will collide at the National Gallery of Victoria, as two exhibitions come together to explore Australia's complex colonial past.
Douglas Smith

15 Mar 2018 - 5:24 PM  UPDATED 15 Mar 2018 - 5:25 PM

With artwork dating back to pre-contact times, some might come to think of the Colony: Australia 1770-1861 and Colony: Frontier Wars exhibitions as a bit confronting, but “it’s not possible to tell the story of Australia’s settlement without also telling the story of its invasion,” is what curator, Myles Russell-Cook told NITV News.

“We have this shared history – and it’s just about making sure that all sides of history are talked about,” Mr Russell-Cook said.

Director of the National Gallery of Victoria, Tony Elwood said James Cook’s landing in Australia marked the beginning of a history that still has repercussions today.

“This two-part exhibition presents different perspectives of a shared history with unprecedented depth and scope, featuring a breadth of works never-before-seen in Victoria.

Senior Wurundjeri Elder, Joy Murphy-Wandin said she was overwhelmed at the magnitude and integrity of the display.

“The National Gallery of Victoria is to be congratulated for providing a visual truth that will enable the public to see, and hopefully understand, First Peoples’ heartache, pain and anger,” she said.  

“Colony: Australia 1770-1861 Frontier Wars is a must-see for all if we are to realise and action true reconciliation.

“Such work and vision is a credit to the curatorial team,” she said.

Colony: Australia 1770-1861 will be on display at the National Gallery of Victoria until July 15, and Colony: Frontier Wars will be on display until September 2. 

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