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Mamu/Ngagen/Ngajan peoples

Mackay, Queensland, Australia born 1971

Natura naturata (the twenty first century) 2015 Place made: Bowral, New South Wales, Australia
Materials & Technique: photographs, chromogenic photograph Support: metallic photographic paper

Dimensions: mounted 180.0 h x 120.0 w x 2.7 d cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 2016
Accession No: NGA 2016.189
  • Purchased from the artist, 2016

In these large-scale landscapes, which have been mounted under acrylic, Mellor depicts his traditional country in the Atherton Tablelands of far north Queensland. Mellor asserts his connection to these places through the palette he has applied to the photographs – his work has always used the colours blue and white. At the same time, the colour and pictorial effects of the photographs remember mid-nineteenth-century photography, particularly studies of the strange beauty of the Australian landscape as a site ripe for exploitation made by photographers such as JW Lindt, Nicholas Caire and Morton Allport. The Latin titles of the photographs, which translate as 'nature already created', similarly cast nature as a passive force. In this way, Mellor's photographs point to two distinct but closely entwined ways of seeing the landscape: the thick, dense natural rainforest that his ancestors once navigated and used, and that for colonial settlers promised touristic appeal and agricultural and mineral rewards.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra