Frederick McCubbin’s famous ‘The Pioneer’, above, needed an update, needed improving, and some bold and innovative trailblazers and radical thinkers have decided to make the necessary change to it, like so:
It is by the Jewish Austrian (mother)/Catholic Czech (father) artist Anna Zahalka, and now on display at the Geelong Gallery, and the curator says of it:
If you take Anna Zahalka’s ‘The Pioneer’, she is creating a new story, one based on her family, her parents being first-generation refugees coming from war-torn Europe, of being at the coalface of the assimilation process, and her growing up thinking “where does my family story fit within this Australian pioneering legacy?”
Her family and her parents’ story doesn’t fit anywhere in the Australian pioneering legacy, they just turned up after all the hard work to create one of the most prosperous and peaceful societies to ever exist in all of blood and misery soaked human existence had been done, and then mooched off it, complained about it, and tried to change it all, or their wretched children did.
We are listening to other voices in ways we should have been decades ago, in ways that are long overdue. We’re much more understanding of the contribution of women to making a home and settling land. We’re much more mindful of the environmental impacts of clearing the land.
Obviously photoshopping out a man from a painting is the way to do it.
“The Pioneer” is not the only McCubbin painting this exhibition is trying to ruin, but also ‘A Bush Burial’, left the original, right, some modern monstrous take on it:
The curator adds:
The interpretations that our contemporary artists overlay on these works open up the narrative.
After the Taliban conquers Australia a new narrative will be opened up, and it will involve people like these being put to work fruit picking and they will have plenty of time to contemplate the narrative overlays further.