H.E. Dr. Brett Mason honours Australian-Dutch friendship

The Australian Ambassador Dr. Brett Mason celebrated Australia day 2018 February 1st, with an emphasis on Australian-Dutch friendship.
Traditionally, Australia day is a reflection on what it means to be Australian, a celebration of contemporary Australia and an acknowledgement of its History.
This was spectacularly achieved with a display of beautiful and thought-provoking art works by Geert Snoeijers, Belinda Fox, Michael Cook and a collection of Aboriginal prints commissioned for the Dutch Royal Family.

Bringing “Re-imagining First Encounters – Portraits and Prints”” to The Hague was the brainchild of Deputy Head Indra McCormick and involved the commitment of many and the generous support of the museum of World Cultures (Volkenkunde/Wereldculturen).

It offers a different perspective on the First Encounters between Dutch sailors and the indigenous people of Australia, four centuries ago.
For the 400-year anniversary of the landing of the the Duyfken in 2006, the Dutch embassy in Australia commissioned ten Australian Aboriginal artists to answer the question: “How would your forefathers have seen/experienced the arrival of the Dutch?”

They replied in different ways:
Some chose to make traditional artworks, emphasizing the long-standing culture of the Aboriginals; photographer Michael Cook created an alternative storyline depicting indigenous Australians dressed like 17th century Dutchman; and the Vêrlander portraits by Dutch photographer Geert Snoeijer and Australian academic Nonja Peters provided a living heritage of the Dutch seafarers of the 17th and 18th century.

“Poetic, discomforting, mesmerizing, these works cause us to question our premises about discovery, heritage and race”, was said and indeed our curiosity and imagination were given food for thought.

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