Melbourne, Victoria, Australia born 1961
Who are you?
2003 Description: plate
Place made: Victoria, Australia
Materials & Technique: ceramics, bowls, Glazed earthenware earthenware: underglaze painted decoration
Bern Emmerichs takes a decorative approach to local narrative, derived from the ubiquitous underglaze-painted English ironstone ceramic meat platters that were exported to the Australian colonies from the early decades of the nineteenth century. Such wares, decorated with imagined exotic scenes inspired by possessions from the distant Far East, reinforced a British colonial fantasy in the dining rooms of the nineteenth century. In Who are you? Emmerichs uses imagery of an Aboriginal man and a British colonial settler eyeing each other against a background of colonial buildings and Aboriginal artefacts, revisiting a colonial narrative of arrival and dispossession with a wry irony and humour.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra