Steaphan Paton — Wallung Githa Unsettled


Wallung Githa Unsettled, Bagwan (Concealed), 2015, photographic print, edition of 5 + AP

Wallung Githa Unsettled, Bagwan (Concealed), 2015, photographic print, edition of 5 + AP

Opening Drinks: Friday 10 April, 6pm

Guest Speaker: Reko Rennie, Artist

Exhibition: 10 April – 9 May 2015

Central to the work of the Wallung Githa Unsettled exhibition is the ‘White Woman of Gippsland,’ a controversial figure said to have been captive to the ‘ruthless savages’ in the 1840s. This story many regard as a cover for pastoralists fighting the Gunai people for her ‘rescue’, while truly engaging in an asymmetric war for land and pasture.

Steaphan Paton’s exhibition at Anna Pappas Gallery is an installation alongside a collaborative series of images, co-authored by photographer Cameron Cope, exploding the euphemism of ‘settlement’ and communicating the violent truth of Australia’s colonial past. 

‘Wallung Githa’ is Gunai language for ‘my stones’, a reference to ownership of country, in Paton’s work, while the photographic series ‘Unsettled’ is an interpretation and expression of stories set on highly sensitive battle sites, massacre sites, original homesteads, watering holes and ceremonial grounds in Gunaikurnai country.

Cameron Cope is a photographer based in Melbourne who describes his art practice as conceptual documentary, but is also an award winning travel journalist. He grew up in Gippsland and has a mixed European background that in Australia dates back to the late 19th century. Cope regularly contributes to a number of publications, exhibits widely and has work held in the permanent collection of the Melbourne Museum.

Steaphan Paton is an interdisciplinary artist based in Melbourne, and a member of the Gunai Nation, who grew up in the Gippsland area. He has been included in numerous group, festival and prize exhibitions including the Nextwave Festival with his project My Bullock Modified (2014), and Melbourne Now, National Gallery of Victoria (2013). He has held several solo exhibitions including Boorun’s Canoe, Melbourne Museum (2012) and Where the trees are big and green, Latrobe Contemporary Gallery (2011). Paton was the recipient of the Victorian Indigenous Art Awards – Highly Commended (2007), and has been shortlisted for the prize on multiple occasions (2014, 2013, 2012, 2011). His work is held in collections at the National Gallery of Victoria, the Melbourne Museum, Brooklyn Art Library and the Wellington Shire Council.