Sunday, July 27, 2008



At Melbourne's Platform gallery is a curious exhibition for us commuters to reflect on our lack of belonging to the land.

Here's how Sharon West explains Gubbaworld:

Presenting colonial pseudo-histories and other follies
Gubbaworld is derived from the Koori name for white people. This exhibition parodies the notion of the museum diorama cabinet, offering pseudo narratives of Victorian settler history and draws reference on the Indigenous dioramas of Melbourne Museum and the Great Colonial Exhibitions of the late 1800s. The work themes also focus on settler and Indigenous contact, exploring parables and inversions that satirise the ideas of the great Southern land, the Noble Savage and white colonisation.

It's a humorous take on the naïve settler romance about native peoples. There's some reversals, as in the piece below, which put Koori's in the place of cultural tourists.

The effect of this exhibition is for us to laugh at the outmoded colonial movements, such as Jindyworabaks, who essentialised Indigenous cultures. But it does raise the question of where this places us today. Is the now official acknowledgement of Indigenous custodianship enough? Where do non-Indigenous now place themselves in this scene today?

DSCF3953A new Jerusalem
An attempt in the transplantation of British culture onto the Indigenous landscape. The Koori campsite is remodelled into a pleasant English village

1 comment:

Thomas Michael Blaser said...

Thanks for the interesting exhibit. Should people not belong to the place in which they live, in the society they work and move about? Foreigners from the African continent live in South Africa for so long, and yet they are considered outsiders, partially because the legal mechanism and government institutions which should make them belong, fail.