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After the end of the world



  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Bowral New South Wales Australia
    Media category
    Materials used
    acrylic and gesso on linen
    152.0 x 213.4 cm; 154.8 x 216.0 x 5.8 cm frame
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Purchased with funds provided by the Contemporary Collection Benefactors and the Mollie Gowing Acquisition Fund for Contemporary Aboriginal Art 2022
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Danie Mellor

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Danie Mellor

    Works in the collection


  • About

    After the end of the world converges Mellor’s technical skills as an artist and his explorations of art history and the art mediums that have informed popular visual histories regarding Australia’s occupation.

    After the end of the world considers the cataclysmic changes that Aboriginal people in northern Queensland were subject to from the early 19th century. Here, Mellor provides an intimate view of two figures, captured mid-movement, processing to the right of the canvas. The man on the right holds a human skull. Such is the placement of the men within the composition, that the viewer becomes part of the scene, inserted opposite and to the right of non-Indigenous settlers. Mellor terms this as ‘a corridor of gazes’, where the Aboriginal men are rendered between viewer and settler, condemned to be looked at and examined.

    Painted in a sepia palette that lends an air of authenticity to the work, After the end of the world is also a nod to photography, particularly the historical photographs from this time that document such scenes of cultural genocide and Ancestral resistance. In northern Queensland, photography was the favoured documentary tool to record the ‘opening up’ of Country as cameramen and photographers were able to take glass plates and tripods out into the field. For Mellor, there is a very personal connection to this painting, as the men referenced here come from photographs from the archive which depict his own kin and family, taken over four generations by one photographer in Gimuy/Cairns, Alfred Atkinson.

    Of the work, Mellor says:
    “Set against the backdrop of Rainforest Country in North Queensland from where my Aboriginal family comes, two men carry Ancestral remains past the watchful eyes of colonial settlers. In a show of profound inner strength, the Aboriginal men persist with ceremony and ritual despite the desecration around them. The processional nature of the scene heightens a sense of othering and spectacle, and the unchecked destruction of the landscape mirrors the catastrophic disruption to life experienced by First Nations people following colonisation. Using multiple sources to create the scene, the work explores histories of documentation, while questioning the intrusion of our gaze.”

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

Other works by Danie Mellor