In particular, the exhibition looks into the connection between land and resources and the conflict that this connection causes. Victoria’s gold rush towns – Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong – are represented here in vintage military maps. Cope decolonizes these towns by including the names of the Aboriginal groups and languages to which these areas originally belonged and still belong today; a superimposed 5-metre sea level rise renders the colonial grip on the places even more tenuous.
The Tide is High also features a collection of protest placards that reference the current anxieties about asylum seekers. White Australia’s fear of losing its “jobs, land and wealth” to refugees, Cope suggests, is symptomatic of the cultural amnesia that fails to consider the Aboriginal people whose jobs, land and wealth were already sacrificed.
Images: Courtesy of Fehily Contemporary and the artist