Michael Cook is a Brisbane-based photo-media artist of Bidjara heritage. The Tweed Regional Gallery will be the first public gallery to host the full suite of Michael Cook’s latest photographic series entitled Mother.
This emotionally engaging series explores a universal theme that is crucial to the wellbeing of all. The love or absence of a mother is paramount to the development and future of each child the world over.
“Mother is a journey through 13 images of a woman in a deserted Australian landscape,” Gallery Director, Susi Muddiman OAM, said. “These are powerful and evocative images that possess an arrested stillness. Each of them speaks to something dramatic, and has a sense of loss or regret. The experience or the idea of loss and longing is something we can all connect to in some way.”
The ‘mother’ is always alone, her baby absent, although evidence of a child remains in the empty pram, abandoned toys on the hopscotch court, the slackness of the skipping rope.
Michael Cook has tackled subjects from the political to the historical since 2009. In Mother we see his most intensely personal work to date. While these images speak directly and poetically to Australia’s Stolen Generation, they also speak to a universal experience of disconnection between mother and child.
“I create artwork about Indigenous issues, past and present, about how the past relates to the present and, eventually, moulds the future. I’m not sure whether I really need to belong anywhere. Put simply, I’m a person of mixed ancestry – some of which is Indigenous. I look at the big picture, I am Australian, I tell my stories to Australians of all races and also to those beyond our shores. I am a part of the human race,” Cook said.
Michael Cook’s Mother will be on display at the Gallery from 24 August to Sunday 11 December 2016.
Image courtesy of the artist