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Michael Cook


Livin' the dream

'I was never taught Aboriginal history at school, only about European settlement of Australia. Looking back it was a false way of teaching and hid the truth about the treatment of Aborigines over the past four hundred years.' Michael Cook, 2019 'Livin' the dream' is a compelling series of photographic dreamscapes. It offers a retake on Australian history by imagining a contemporary Indigenous community with Aboriginals living the lifestyle prescribed by white norms. The disjuncture between the reality of Indigenous life and the white Australian dream/ideal raises the question 'what makes a person civilised?'. Would a better understanding of Aboriginal culture have made a difference to our history? Is being civilised about fashion, speech, cultivating land and Christian beliefs or is it to do with the colour of someone’s skin or how they appear?’ Cook asks provocative questions: If the British had realised Aborigines were indeed civilised, would history have been different?