Majority Rule (Memorial)

Accession Number ART96271
Collection type Art
Measurement Sheet: 140 x 200 cm
Object type Print
Physical description inkjet print on paper
Maker Cook, Michael
Place made Australia
Date made 2013
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Item copyright: AWM Licensed copyright


One of a series of seven prints by Cook which considers a simple premise: what would Australia be like if the Indigenous population held the majority? What would the nation look like if 97.5 per cent of Australians were Indigenous and only 2.5 per cent were non-indigenous? Based within this hypothetical world, the seven works play out different scenarios in a variety of significant locations around Australia.

Of the seven images, "Majority Rule (Memorial)" explores the legacy of Indigenous military service in Australia, and reasserts its contemporary legacy. It is composed of dreamlike image of Brisbane’s well-known Shrine of Remembrance, populated by an Indigenous figure ascending and descending the staircases. The figure portrays an archetypal businessman dressed in a suit and bowler hat, he pays homage to surrealist master Rene Magritte, as the scene shifts between reality and illusion (Magritte (1898 -1967) was a well-known Belgian artist,who gained a reputation for challenging the audience’s perception of reality by placing familiar everyday objects in unfamiliar spaces). Overall, it presents a work that is at once a playful reconstruction of history, albeit posing a more serious question to the audience of considering how we have acknowledged our Indigenous people for their wartime service. The central figure is photographed with his head bowed in a simple yet symbolic gesture of commemoration.