New Directions Lecture Series Presents
"Casting Shadows: Speculative Impressions of a Captain Cook Memorial", by Julia Lum.
Thursday, November 19th, 6 p.m.
In mid-June, 2020, in the midst of a movement in defense of Black and Indigenous lives, law enforcement stood duty in Sydney’s Hyde Park to protect the safety of a bronze sculpture: the 1879 memorial to navigator James Cook by Pre-Raphaelite sculptor Thomas Woolner. At that very moment, visitors to the Biennale of Sydney beheld the memorial’s ghostly echo in Shadow on the Land, an excavation and bush burial by Nicholas Galanin (Tlingit/Unangax̂, Sitka, Alaska). An act of future anterior resistance to colonial “discovery” narratives, Galanin’s work imagines an archaeological excavation of the memorial’s shadow. This paper, itself a speculative gesture, describes select episodes in the life history of Woolner’s sculpture by way of its material castings: in bronze, in photography, and in this contemporary earthwork. It asks: how does colonial memory get re-cast?
About the speaker: Julia Lum is Assistant Professor of Art History at Scripps College; her work examines art and visual culture of the eighteenth century to present in Britain and the (former) British empire, with an emphasis on cross-cultural exchange and entanglement in Oceania and North America. Currently, her research centers on landscapes at the intersection of Indigenous and colonial cultural practices.