Antipodean View – Melbourne Panorama by Julia Silvester

Location: 24/7 viewing at 69 Victoria Parade, Collingwood – this is a walk-by window project

This work is concerned with how history is created, what we view, how we view it and why that view might change over time. It forms part of a larger body of work which samples early European imagery of Australia. The artist utilises this imagery to reposition, reimagine and reconstruct history.

The works in this particular exhibition are drawn from colonial era maps of Melbourne and paintings by famous colonial era artists. The vintage coat of arms contains a grass tree (Xanthorrhoea Australis) made from shredded paper. The shredded paper scattered throughout, and around the artwork, is derived from history texts such as “the lucky country”. The artist asks us, who gets to write our history? The privileged act of establishing, in writing, one view of Australia is challenged by Silvester. Her act of shredding history texts converts these euro-centric texts into piles of dust and debris. A significant act of defiance and an attempt to correct the injustice to those denied a voice.

Julia Silvester is an artist, maker and conservator of cultural materials.