Craft in America

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Nicholas Galanin on Shadow on the Land

Artist Nicholas Galanin on his work, Shadow on the Land, and Excavation and Bush Burial, installed at the Biennale of Sydney. Bonus video from the STORYTELLERS episode.

AIRED: December 11, 2020 | 0:02:07
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Shadow On The Land, and Excavation, and Bush Burial

is new work that was created and recently installed at the

Biennale of Sydney.

The work is an excavation of the Captain Cook statue's shadow.

The Cook Statue is in Hyde Park in Sydney.

This statue is like many colonial monuments and statues,

problematic. It upholds white supremacist narratives, erasing indigenous histories,

indigenous presence, indigenous land and language

so this work is a direct dialogue with that.

The work itself is an excavation of the shadow, the shadow represents a

larger colonial shadow that's cast upon indigenous or aboriginal lands globally.

An Excavation and Bush Burial is also a reference to a romantic

painting that's in a national collection in Australia titled The Bush Burial.

It's a colonial style landscape that celebrates this settler hero narrative

which is ultimately damaging to the truth of history and the truth of

communities that are still in these spaces. So, what is covered up

and what is buried in order to place that statue or monument on this land

And there's one more aspect to this work, which is the anthropology aspect of it.

To use that process to highlight the myth of discovery in that monument.

Means that when you dig into the soil or the ground you are going to find evidence of

long storied pasts of one of the oldest documented aboriginal communities

on Earth.

The concept of the work is to dig deep enough to bury the monument or

bury these statues

and ultimately burying these narratives.

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