A memorial for James Cook - Sarah Read

27 August - 23 September  2018

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‘History is a carefully edited version of events, strung together by whoever is in power at the time.’
— British History’s Biggest Fibs, Lucy Worsley, 2012

It’s 250 years since James Cook first set sail for the South Pacific.

One perspective

Cook’s voyages were unprecedented feats of navigation, exploration and scientific documentation that greatly expanded Western knowledge of the globe. Charles Darwin’s take: “Cook gave us a Southern Hemisphere.”

Garland view

Garland view

Another perspective

For the people of the island nations, Cook’s voyages presaged loss and colonisation. The enforcement of Western systems altered the way they had lived for thousands of years, to the net detriment of their cultures, languages, values and identities:

Wreath view  (Materials: sugar * , plastic ** )

Wreath view
(Materials: sugar*, plastic**)

As the repercussions of globalisation intensify, its negative effects are felt disproportionately in smaller, less technologically advanced countries:

* By 2015, the population of Pacific Island nations had risen to the top of the worldwide obesity scale, with 70-75% of deaths attributable in part to non-communicable diseases (www.healthcareglobal.com).

**In 2017, Henderson Island in the South Pacific was announced the most plastic-polluted place on Earth (earthsky.org).

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Other perspectives:

In October 2018 London’s Crypt Gallery will present Te Ao Hurihuri / Ever Changing World by jewellery collectives Handshake (NZ) and Dialogue Collective (UK). Through jewellery from New Zealand and the UK, the two groups navigate around the impact of colonialism.

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Sincere thanks to Viv Atkinson and Caroline Thomas

sarahread.com | sarah.read@xtra.co.nz

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