Colonial memories, untold mission stories, and insights into the passage of time: new perspectives on the Flinders Ranges and the ghost town of Beltana are explored in UNSETTLED, a multimedia exhibition opening at the State Library of South Australia on March 24. Test
UNSETTLED is jointly produced by Southern Cross University digital media artist Associate Professor Grayson Cooke and photographer Dea Morgain, in partnership with the State Library of South Australia (SLSA) and the Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association (ATLA).
A major element of UNSETTLED is a series of portraits of Adnyamathanha people living at the Nepabunna Mission in the 1930s, taken by anthropologist Charles Mountford. These images are part of the SLSA’s Mountford-Sheard Collection which is recognised as internationally significant by the UNESCO Memory of the World Register.
Many of the photographs have not been exhibited publicly for years.
“Highlighting these incredible portraits of people on the Nepabunna Mission invokes the immensity of Adnyamathanha history in the Flinders and casts the settler history of the region in a different light,” said Professor Cooke.
The portraits are accompanied by filmed interviews with Adnyamathanha people living in the region today, whose parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles are depicted in the photographs.
“This aspect of the project is about giving new life to the State Library’s collection, letting the images ‘speak’ through the recollections of their descendants,” Professor Cooke said.
Alongside the photographs are works of video and media art. The video and photographic works will be shown in the Institute Gallery, on a six-screen videowall, and on the Story Wall architectural projection.
“With this project, we’re interested in cutting through some of the noise produced by settler-colonial nostalgia,” said Dea Morgain.
“UNSETTLED is about questioning the stories we tell ourselves about Australia’s colonial past.”
Vince Coulthard, CEO of ATLA, said the community was excited to share its stories in this way.
“The Mountford photos from Nepabunna mean a lot to Adnyamathanha people, and ATLA are extremely pleased to have this opportunity to show these photos of our people at the State Library.”
UNSETTLED opens on March 24 and runs until May 14 at the State Library of South Australia in the Institute Gallery.
The project received funds from Creative Partnerships Australia’s MATCH after a successful crowdfunding campaign with the Australian Cultural Fund
Photo: Jack Coulthard (left) and Pearl McKenzie. Both photos taken by Charles Mountford at the NepabMedia contact: Sharlene King Media officer, Southern Cross University, 02 6620 3508 or 0429 661 349.