Dianne JONES: artist

Not On Display

About the work

As I was listening to a talk by the National Portrait Gallery of Canberra I was a little
surprised when it was revealed that the NPG of C recently purchased the John Webber
portrait of Captain Cook for an incredible price of $3.5m. What was particularly
disturbing was what this actually represented. Captain Cook who is considered one of the
greatest maritime explorers in history claimed New South Wales for Britain in 1770.
Cook spoke highly of the Indigenous of New South Wales as "noble savages" living in
harmony with the earth and sea. When the British arrived in 1788 they assumed power
without negotiation. According to Captain Cook and the First Fleet's estimation
Australia was 'terra nullius', land that had not been possessed effectively by the current
At the time of this purchase John Howard was under extreme pressure to say sorry to the
'Stolen Generation'. He has continued to ignore any pain that his actions may cause to
the 'Stolen Generation' and anyone affected by it. I felt that this purchase was either
particularly insensitive or an insult to the Indigenous People of Australia because it is
about the beginning of the arrival of the white people in Australia and the devastating
effect that has been felt ever since by the Original Inhabitants. I understand that white
Australian needs to feel some sense of belonging and pride but if the truth is not
acknowledged then the reconciliation process will take longer. Actions of this kind will
not create favourable impressions. I have referenced DuChamps's L.H.O.O.Q. because
when DuChamp added a moustache and beard to Leonardo's Mona Lisa he caused a
collapse of the idealised. What is now an historic gesture was a reaction to the attention
that the Mona Lisa was receiving. By writing L.H.O.O.Q. as the title DuChamp reduced
the painting to latrine humour. I have kept the original title L.H.O.O.Q. which sounds
like 'look' in English and added the word' ERE!' which is slang for 'here' because often
the words ' look ere!' are used by Indigenous People to draw attention to something in
MR 20/09/18
Artist/Maker and role
Dianne JONES: artist
inkjet print on treated canvas mounted on Kappa board using Gloy 870 AGWA frame (fake colonial decorator with painted surface) at request of artist
111.2 x 88.8 cm (sheet)
128.0 x 104.2 cm (framed)
Credit line
Purchased 2001
The State Art Collection, The Art Gallery of Western Australia
Accession number

This is one of the prints in our collection.