STOP! There's No Need to Shoot the Natives by Rew Hanks - 2013 | Michael Reid Gallery

Rew Hanks
STOP! There’s No Need to Shoot the Natives, 2013

Linocut
75 x 100 cm
edition of 30
$2,000 unframed
$2,800 framed

In Stop! There’s No Need to Shoot the Natives, Hanks depicts Cook admonishing his crew as they are about to indulge on a hunting spree. Like Daniel Boyd’s satirical We call them pirates out here (2006), Hanks appropriates the composition and subject matter from the iconic 1902 image of Cook’s arrival by Emanuel Phillips Fox, The landing of Captain Cook at Botany Bay, 1770, and twists this depiction of Cook to present an Indigenous perspective.

Hanks introduces a plethora of animals to his image, replacing the originally depicted settlers and Aborigines with British livestock and kangaroos respectively. By doing so, Cook’s supposedly peaceful gesture is now layered in irony as Cook’s crew nevertheless introduce a whole fleet of invasive species – cats, foxes and Myna birds – which would nonetheless ‘hunt’ down Australian native species. The incision of a contemporary “No Pets” sign emphasises Cook’s ironic gesture of harmony.

Hanks’ analogy and appropriation is an attempt to shine light on the conflict between the legitimisation of English history and shadowing of Indigenous perspectives. In this particular image, Hanks challenges the heroic, courageous and peaceful attributes of an idealised Cook, and instead documents a captain who would irreversibly impact Aboriginal culture as his fleet landed in Botany Bay.

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