|Bendigo Art Gallery online, Bendigo Art Gallery online, Bendigo VIC 3550|
Michael Cook's Invasion is an ambitious photographic series by renowned Bidjara artist Michael Cook that re-imagines Australia’s colonial history and First Nations’ resistance in a fantastical vision of sci-fi proportions. In a distinct role reversal, the colonised become the invaders with colossal creatures, UFOs and laser shooting fembots wreaking havoc and inciting fear and panic in the iconic streets of London; the epicentre of colonial empire-building and the heart of British cultural identity.
Months in production and featuring a cast to rival a small film, each cinematic scene is carefully constructed through a painterly approach and layering of images. The series’ 1960s aesthetic references a time of important change in the civil and land rights of First Nations people as well as the spoofy tropes of B-grade horror and science-fiction which Cook skilfully commands to convey the shock of the first encounter with Europeans on Australian shores more than 200 years ago.
Through his tongue-in-cheek approach, Cook aims to unsettle grand narratives and disrupt ingrained belief systems and prejudices while re-imaging the contemporary reality of First Nations peoples and the impacts of Australia’s colonial past.