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Welcome to the Lucky Country



Danie Mellor


13 Apr 1971 –

Language group: Mamu, North-east region; Ngadjon/North-east region

  • Details

    Media category
    Mixed media
    Materials used
    pastel, pencil and wash with glitter and Swarovski crystal on saunders Waterford paper
    141.0 x 183.0 cm
    Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program by Clinton Ng and Steven Johnston 2022
    Grand Courts
    Accession number
    © Danie Mellor

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Danie Mellor

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Danie Mellor’s painting practice is a highly nuanced reflection on traditional genres including photography and portraiture, and he is widely recognised for his interrogations of these art mediums, along with the Eurocentric nature of Australian art history. Mellor’s early work exploited European traditions of sculpture, including dioramas, to question the ethics of colonisation and the roles that the Enlightenment, the ‘museum theatre’, and the spectacle of the curious played in the subjugation of First Nations people. For Mellor, the simulation of reality, the re-telling of stories through an entirely Indigenous lens, and the topographical representation of culture and landscape through objects is his way to reclaim, reconstruct, and re-energise the spirit of Aboriginal land.

    In 2007, Mellor began to use unique blue and white designs in his works which were an overt wink to Ming dynasty Chinese ceramicware that showcased stories handpainted by the maker onto porcelain. Mellor’s designs also refer to English transfer printed china, particularly Spode china, one brand which was crucial to the industrialisation of transfer printing in underglaze blue on fine earthenware during the 18th century.

    Welcome to the Lucky Country makes reference to historical and romantic narratives of both Country, and the relations between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and colonial settlers. Through intricate detailing, Mellor provides a variety of readings on this uneasy tension by juxtaposing the colonial against the Indigenous, and by forcing a dialogue between the two.

    The painting sets encroaching colonialism against a picturesque Aboriginal landscape. In the lower right, a skull is hugged by four koalas, evidencing the colonial encounter while an Aboriginal family looks on in curiosity.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 2 exhibitions

Other works by Danie Mellor