Congratulations to Jason Wing whose iconic bronze sculpture Captain James Crook (which rethinks the narrative of Australian history) has recently been acquired by the Art Gallery of New South Wales for their permanent collection.
“Since 1770, when Captain James Cook first sailed into Camay (Botany Bay), home of the Eora people and what is now commonly known as Sydney, Australia, there has been a popular narrative shared by our law-makers, school curriculum, media outlets and historians. This narrative is one that depicts Australia as, until recently, not only terra nullius (meaning a land belonging to no one) but also as having been peacefully settled by European colonisers.
This oppressive and violent history continues to impact our communities today and is perpetuated by racist Government policies such as the Intervention; a policy which seeks to control and disempower people, predominately minority groups and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It seems ironic that the Intervention limits the rights of Indigenous people as though they were criminals, when it this very policy that breaks the international UN human rights convention.
Fundamentally nothing has changed in 225 years. The violent and racist legacy left by Captain James Cook and his fellow colonisers is enmeshed in the fabric of contemporary Australian society.
When I attended high school I was taught that Australia was discovered by Captain James Cook. This colonial lie is further reinforced by a huge bronze sculpture in Hyde Park, Sydney which is situated on a massacre site. Etched in stone are the words “Captain James Cook Discovered Australia 1770”. I feel physically ill every time I see this monument so I decided to create my one monument to Captain Cook whom personifies colonisation. There are many politically correct terms such as “colonised, peacefully settled, occupied, discovered etc. The truth is that Australia was stolen by armed robbery. History is often written and erased by the victors, so I decided to challenge colonial history of Australia from an Aboriginal perspective and simply tell the truth.
The common thread throughout my three works is the everyday battle which Aboriginal people fight living in this colonial institutional framework. We fight for re-writing Aboriginal history that has been erased, destroyed, hidden and lost. We fight for equal human rights. We fight for our culture to be respected, valued and celebrated in a genuine way. We fight for equal rights socially, culturally, politically and economically. We have serpent blood in our veins and we will never stop fighting for our culture.”
– Jason Wing, Artist Statement
Jason Wing is currently working towards a solo exhibition at Artereal Gallery in 2020.