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Peter Milne

“The images seen here are selected from three separate bodies of work. They are all quite different in content and approach but share a common concern with the construction and consumption of history.

The first set is from When Nature Forgets, a project that documented dolls and mannequins in museums and historical theme parks. The work examined the diorama displays that re-created historical situations and presented them back to an audience as entertainment. Re-creation as recreation.

Both the second and third sets of images are theatrically staged tableaux. They are photographic operas that metaphorically interpret actual events from the brief but extraordinary history of white Australia.

The Reptile series is a visual narrative about a media dynasty that spans a hundred years. It centres on a reptile of the press who is the recently deceased head of a family long corrupted by the toxic effects of rampant greed and untrammelled power. It is a chronicle of tortured father-son relationships that stretches back throughout the history of the family and informs the vicious megalomania and contempt for due process that characterises its place within Australian history.

Scenes From the Life of Clyde Cameron is an allegorical account of a an Australian politician who was an extremely contradictory character. He was an archetypal ALP backroom numbers-man, a low profile power-broker who exerted enormous influence behind closed doors yet also led a very public life including three years as one of the most successful ministers in Gough Whitlam’s government. He was a man of great integrity and a committed socialist who fought tirelessly for the rights of the downtrodden. He was however, also a person who carried grudges and gained a reputation as a great hater.”

(Peter Milne 2006)