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Too Many Cooks virtual exhibition

Summary

This online exhibition is presented by the Plimsoll Gallery and Fine Art Collection in collaboration with the Office of the Pro Vice Chancellor, Aboriginal Leadership, University of Tasmania

Start Date

22 Aug 2020

Venue

Plimsoll Gallery virtual exhibition


Rew Hanks, The Conquest (detail), 2013, linocut, 100 x 75 cm, edition of 30, courtesy the artist and Michael Reid Sydney + Berlin

Image Credit:  Rew Hanks,The Conquest (detail), 2013 , linocut,100 x 75 cm ,edition of 30 courtesy the artist and Michael Reid Sydney + Berlin


Too Many Cooks: conflicting narratives in Australia’s visual histories.

Plimsoll Gallery virtual exhibition launch to coincide with the date that Lieutenant James Cook, captain of HMB Endeavour, claimed the eastern portion of the Australian continent for the British Crown in 1770, naming it New South Wales.

In April 1770, Lieutenant James Cook sailed from New Zealand with the intention of landing on the coast of Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania). The great navigator completely missed the coastline mapped by Abel Tasman 130 years before and instead made landfall on the Australian mainland, claiming the ‘entire east coast of New Holland’ as British territory on 22 August. Despite Cook’s secret instructions from the Admiralty to, ‘…with the Consent of the Natives … take possession in the Name of the King of Great Britain’, no such consent was obtained from the many nations of First People whose lands were annexed. Cook finally found Van Diemen’s Land on his third voyage, seven years later.

Too Many Cooks is an innovative project centred on an online exhibition that gathers responses by Indigenous and other artists over the past fifty years to the contested visual narratives of Australia’s history. Too Many Cooks celebrates connection to Country and culture, while interrogating Anglo-centric origin mythologies of Australia with a dramatic selection of artworks and archival material from the University of Tasmania’s Cultural Collections. Together with loans from internationally renowned artists, private collections and the Allport Museum and Art Gallery, this material underlines the importance of visual art in informing and reflecting social processes that define Australia’s cultural and political identity.

The visit by Cook is still commonly recognised as the ‘discovery’ of Australia, and the arrival of the British First Fleet in January 1788 as the ‘founding of modern Australia’. Like Cook’s disregard for his Admiralty instructions, both these events effectively ignored the prior occupation and sovereignty of Australia’s First People, instead imposing the doctrine of terra nullius, or ‘empty land’. Despite the Mabo Decision of the High Court of Australia, vestiges of terra nullius remain deeply embedded in Australia’s attitude to Aboriginal people and their rights, ensuring that Cook’s legacy lives on.

In 2020, to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Cook’s visit to Australia, extensive plans were put in place by government; with significant expenditure on redevelopment of Cook memorials, commemorative voyages around Australia and other public celebrations. Against this background, Australian Indigenous and other artists continue to produce creative works that maintain attention on unresolved social issues such as Black Deaths in Custody, and to emphasise the strength and continuity of Aboriginal culture and the ongoing struggle for justice.

Too Many Cooks acknowledges the essential importance of art in social history by incorporating a lasting learning resource. This includes a Welcome to Country at the site of Cook’s first landing in Tasmania, a 360-degree virtual gallery tour and curatorial floor talk, and 3D interactive visualisations of exquisite cultural objects. A diversity of educational resources offers insight on the science and art of European encounter with Indigenous Australia, and the life and death of Captain James Cook.

Curated by Professor Greg Lehman and Rachael Rose.


Welcome to Country by Rodney Dillon. Rodney is a Palawa Elder from Tasmania, the Indigenous Rights Advisor for Amnesty International Australia, member of the Stolen Generations Alliance: Australians for Truth, Justice and Healing, and a former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commissioner (ATSIC) for Tasmania.

Curator floor talk by Professor Greg Lehman


We may be temporarily closed,  but you can still enjoy the Too Many Cooks exhibition from your home!

Visit 360 virtual tour

Visit image gallery


Visit Webinar resource


Download Too Many Cooks catalogue :

Too Many Cooks cover


Photogrammetry of a 3D scan conducted on the model paperbark canoe made by Uncle Rex Greeno

Artwork credit: Rex Greeno, model paperbark canoe, 2013, courtesy of the artist.
3D photogrammetry model: Michael Roach, Senior Lecturer, Life and Physical Sciences, University of Tasmania


Photogrammetry of a 3D scan conducted on the model Barramundi made by unknown artist

Barramundi by AusGeol.org on Sketchfab

Artwork credit: Unknown artist, Barramundi, no date, wood and pigment. Photo credit: Rémi Chauvin
3D photogrammetry model: Michael Roach, Senior Lecturer, Life and Physical Sciences, University of Tasmania


The exhibition is primarily funded by the Australian Government’s Indigenous Student Support Program to facilitate the creation of Indigenous curriculum material, and the training of Aboriginal students at the university. Additional funding is contributed by National Science Week and University of Tasmania Collections, with in-kind support provided by the School of Creative Arts and Media, the School of Earth Sciences, and the Office of the Pro Vice Chancellor, Aboriginal Leadership.


In the spirit of Reconciliation, the University of Tasmania respectfully acknowledges the lutruwita nations. The University also recognises the Aboriginal history and culture of the land and acknowledges and pays respect to Traditional Owners and Elders past, present and emerging of the land on which all UTAS campuses stand
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Online Gallery

  • quote: ‘You are also with the Consent of the Natives to take Possession  of Convenient Situations in the Country in the Name of the King of Great Britain:  Or: if you find the Country uninhabited take Possession for his Majesty  by setting up Proper Marks and Inscriptions, as first discoverers and possessors.’                         Secret Instructions for Lt James Cook, 30 July 1768, Whitehall.

    Secret Instructions for Lt James Cook, 30 July 1768, Whitehall

  • Eunice Napanangka Jack Kumuntjai Napanangka Nolan Kumuntjai, Ngutjul (a site near Kintore), 1994, acrylic on canvas Photo credit: Rémi Chauvin

  • Ricky Maynard, Wik Elder, Joe, 2000, silver gelatin on paper, 5/15 Photo: courtesy Bett Gallery

  • Bobby Pascoe, Daily Life, natural pigment on eucalyptus bark, Photo credit: Rémi Chauvin

  • unknown artist, Barramundi, wood and pigment, Photo credit: Rémi Chauvin

  • Terry O'Malley, Hobartown, acrylic on masonite, Photo credit: Rémi Chauvin

  • Joseph Lycett, Salt Pan Plain, lithograph, Photo credit: Rémi Chauvin

  • Joan Ross, We love your sunburnt country, 2014, hand-painted pigment print on cotton rag paper, 5/5 Photo: courtesy Bett Gallery

  • Joan Ross, The art of flower arranging, 2014, hand-painted pigment print on cotton rag paper, 5/5 Photo: courtesy Bett Gallery

  • Rew Hanks, Trojan Tiger versus the Woolly Redcoats, 2002, linocut, 19/25 Photo: courtesy the artist and Michael Reid Sydney + Berlin

  • Rew Hanks, The Defeat of the Trojan Tiger, 2003, linocut, 10/25 Photo: courtesy the artist and Michael Reid Sydney + Berlin

  • Rew Hanks, Not Always Black and White, 2008, linocut, 7/30 Photo: courtesy the artist and Michael Reid Sydney + Berlin

  • Rew Hanks, The Conquest, 2013, linocut, 2/30 Photo: courtesy the artist and Michael Reid Sydney + Berlin

  • Rew Hanks, The Devil's Garden, 2011, linocut, 11/30 Photo: courtesy the artist and Michael Reid Sydney + Berlin

  • Michael McWilliams, White Cat Monday, 2014, acrylic on linen, Photo: courtesy Handmark Gallery

  • Henricus Hondius II, Polus Antarcticus, c. 1641, copper-plate etching, Photo credit: Rémi Chauvin

  • William MacLeod, Tasman’s Carpenter Landing, 1886, colour lithograph, Photo credit: Rachael Rose

  • Ignazio Fumagalli (engraver), Method of Navigation in New Holland, 1822 (?), hand-coloured aquatint - Italian reproduction after C.-A. Lesueur, Photo credit: Rémi Chauvin

  • Charles Alexandre Lesueur, Terre De Diemen. Navigation. Vue de la Cote Orientale de l'Ile Schouten, c. 1807, engraving, Photo credit: Rachael Rose

  • Louis Auguste de Sainson, Pirogue en ecorce cousuel, 1834, hand-coloured plate, Photo credit: Rachael Rose

  • Rex Greeno, Canoe, 2013, paperbark, tea tree, string, glue, Photo credit: Rémi Chauvin

  • Judy Watson, heartland, 1992, etching and aquatint, two colour from three plates, 30/60 Photo: courtesy Grahame Galleries © Judy Watson/Copyright Agency, 2020

  • Judy Watson, stones and bones, 1991, powder pigment on canvas, Photo credit: Rémi Chauvin © Judy Watson/Copyright Agency, 2020

  • Julie Gough, Manifestation (Bruny Island), 2010, giclee print on paper, 6/10 Photo: courtesy the artist

  • Julie Gough, Tomalah, 2015, video, Photo: still courtesy the artist

  • James Caldwall (engraver), A man of Van Diemen’s Land, 1784 , copper plate engraving, after John Webber, Photo credit: Rachael Rose

  • James Caldwall (engraver), A woman of Van Diemen’s Land, 1784 , copper plate engraving, after John Webber, Photo credit: Rachael Rose

  • original drawings by Lieut. Henry Roberts, Plan of Adventure Bay on Van Diemens Land, published 1784, engraving, Photo credit: Rémi Chauvin

  • Mr Thornton (engraver), A Striking Likeness of the late Captain James Cook, F.R.S., published 1781, engraving, Photo credit: Rémi Chauvin

  • Thomas Cook (engraver), The Death of Captain James Cook, FRS at Owhyee in MDCCLXXIX, 1784, engraving, after drawing by Daniel Potter Dodd, Photo credit: Rémi Chauvin

  • quote: 'We had not been long landed before about twenty of them men and boys joined us without expressing the least fear or mistrust. I gave each of them a string of beads and a medal, which I thought they received with some satisfaction.' James Cook, 29 January 1777,  Adventure Bay, Van Diemen's Land. from The journals of Captain James Cook on his voyages of discovery. Volume III, part 2, The voyage of the Resolution and Discovery 1776-1780 / edited by J.C. Beaglehole.

    James Cook, 29 January 1777. Adventure Bay, Van Diemen’s Land

  • John Webber, Capt. Cook's interview with natives in Adventure Bay, Van Diemen's Land, January 29, 1777, reproduction from pen and wash drawing on cartographic paper, Admiralty Library Manuscript Collection, Royal Naval Museum, Portsmouth

  • Tom Nicholson, Interview, 2016, stack of off-set printed multiple Image: Courtesy of the artist and Milani Gallery, Brisbane

  • John Webber, James Cook, 1776, digital print from oil on canvas painting, National Portrait Gallery, London

  • John Webber, A native of Van Diemans Land New Holland, 1777, graphite on paper, Photo credit: Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts

  • quote: ‘The Capt expressed his sorrow, that the behaviour of the Indians would at last  oblige him to use force; for that they must not he said imagine they have gain’d  an advantage over us. After being knock’d down I saw no more of Capt Cook,  all my People I observed were totally vanquish’d.’ Charles Clerke, 14 February 1779, Kealakekua Bay, Hawai’i  from The journals of Captain James Cook on his voyages of discovery. Volume III, part 2, The voyage of the Resolution and Discovery 1776-1780 / edited by J.C. Beaglehole.

    Charles Clerke, 14 February 1779, Kealakekua Bay, Hawai’i

  • The Death of Captain Cook 1784 by John Webber, Francesco Bartolozzi (engraver) and William Byrne (engraver). Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Australia.

  • Right Here Right now text panel: RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW – AUSTRALIA 1988  In 1988, national celebrations were held to mark 200 years of European settlement of Australia. In reaction against the official narratives of colonisation, a group of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal printmakers and art organisations came together to produce a series of 32 screen prints called Right Here, Right Now. Arranged by Co-Media Adelaide, the series toured nationally to ten galleries, including the University of Tasmania. Themes of land rights, deaths in custody and dispossession mounted a strong rejection of the official message of celebration, while recognising the survival of culture and demands for justice. Projects like this transformed the Bicentennial to stimulate a maturing of public discourse. The result was increasing reflection on Australian national and cultural identity, a reassessment of history, and hope for the future.

    RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW – AUSTRALIA 1988

  • Marie McMahon, Wooreddy's Vision - Trugananas' Sisters, 1988, screenprint, 6/10 Photo credit: Rémi Chauvin © Marie McMahon/Copyright Agency, 2020

  • Julie Shiels, White On Black, 1987, screenprint, 9/30 Photo credit: Rémi Chauvin

  • Brisbane Poster Group, Let's Have A Drink And Celebrate, 1987, screenprint, 8/30 Photo credit: Rémi Chauvin © Stephen A Nothling/Copyright Agency, 2020

  • Redback Graphix, Making a Just Future, 1988, screenprint, 3/30 Photo credit: Rémi Chauvin

  • Paul Worstead, It is Wisely Written, 1987, screenprint, 8/30 Photo credit: Rémi Chauvin

  • David Morrow, Sam and David 1980, 1987, screenprint, 1/20 Photo credit: Rémi Chauvin

  • Colin Russell, Survival of the Fittest, 1987, screenprint, 3/30 Photo credit: Rémi Chauvin

  • Jan Fieldsend, I Do Not Celebrate 200 Years of War against Aboriginal Peoples and the Land, 1987, screenprint, 14/15 Photo credit: Rémi Chauvin

  • Portland Print Workshop, Unentitled, 1987, screenprint, 13/30 Photo credit: Rémi Chauvin

  • Wendy Black, Buandik Rock Shelter, 1987, screenprint, 4/15 Photo credit: Rémi Chauvin

  • Stephen Fox, Even Today For Many It Is Still One Way, 1987, screenprint, 1/15 Photo credit: Rémi Chauvin

  • Sally Morgan, Citizenship, 1987, screenprint, 20/30 Photo credit: Rémi Chauvin © Sally J Morgan/Copyright Agency, 2020

  • Jayne Amble, Some are Kept at home, Some are Homeless and Some think they own the whole bloody world... , 1987, screenprint, 24/25 Photo credit: Rémi Chauvin

  • Ray Young, Fort Dundas 88. This Place We People, screenprint, ?/20 Photo credit: Rémi Chauvin

  • Byron Pickett, Descendants, 1987, screenprint, 1/20 Photo credit: Rémi Chauvin

  • Garage Graphix, Now Let's Crack The System, 1987, screenprint, ? /30 Photo credit: Rémi Chauvin

  • Andrew Hill, Colonialism, Racism, Genocide, 1987, screenprint, 6/25 Photo credit: Rémi Chauvin

  • Toni Robertson, Anniversary Print, 1987, screenprint, 10/40 Photo credit: Rémi Chauvin

  • Lyn Finch, Eddie West Died Here, 1987, screenprint, 5/15 Photo credit: Rémi Chauvin

  • Angela Gee, Sand Dune, Uluru, 1987, screenprint, 5/15 Photo credit: Rémi Chauvin © Angela Gee/Copyright Agency, 2020

  • Ann Newmarch, 200 Years On...As the Serpent Struggles, 1988, screenprint, 8/12 Photo credit: Rémi Chauvin © Ann F Newmarch/Copyright Agency, 2020