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Exhibition review: Michael Cook: Broken Dreams at the October Gallery

13:09 12 November 2012

Michael Cook

Michael Cook's work is on show at the October Gallery.


Michael Cook, an Indigenous artist from Queensland, Australia is having his solo debut in the United Kingdom with Broken Dreams.

Michael Cook: Broken Dreams

Michael Cook: Broken Dreams is on at the October Gallery, 24 Old Gloucester Street, Bloomsbury, London, WC1N 3AL, until December 1.

The gallery is open from 12.30pm to 7.30pm Tuesday to Saturday and admission is free.

Call 020 7242 7367 for more information.

It is a series of 10 profound and seductive photographic prints featuring a beautiful young Indigenous woman who, after encountering Europeans, dreams of traveling to their world, eventually becoming disillusioned and falling victim to the shackles of colonialism.

Cook’s use of a redacted colour palette and scale emphasizes the poetic, ethereal dreamscape in which the young woman moves, always accompanied by the recurring motif of a brightly coloured Rainbow Lorikeet.

Accompanying Broken Dreams are individual works from his photographic series, Australian Landscapes, Stickman, The Mission, Undiscovered, Segregation and Civilized.

Born in Brisbane of Aboriginal ancestry, Cook’s paternal family are Bidjara people from South-Western Queensland.

He gained an international reputation working as a fashion photographer for 25 years prior to becoming an artist.

Cook first came to notice winning a coveted Deadly Award as Visual Artist of the Year at the 14th and 17th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander awards in 2008 and 2011.

A spectacular artistic debut has seen his limited but impressive body of work collected by major galleries including the National Gallery of Australia, and the Art Gallery of Western Australia.

Cook’s work featured in the recent exhibition, unDisclosed: the 2nd National Indigenous Art Triennial at the National Gallery of Australia, and he is one of a handful of Australian artists selected to exhibit at the 7th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT7), which opens in December at QAGOMA, Brisbane.

Michael Cook: Broken Dreams is an on-going collaboration between the October Gallery, Andrew Baker Art Dealer, Brisbane, the government of Queensland through QIAMEA, the Queensland Indigenous Arts Marketing and Export Agency.

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