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VANISHING POINT Isobel Parker Philip, Curator of Photographs at the Art Gallery of New South Wales Opening address, Vanishing Point, Hazelhurst Regional Gallery, April 2018

An island is defined by its circumference. Encircled and enclosed, it is a distinct and self-defined site. As such, it is often conceptualised as existing at a remove. It is a place apart, seen from a distance. All too often, our conceptualisation of an island presumes and privileges a viewpoint that is located on the mainland – whatever or wherever that may be. It is a view that looks out towards and at but not from an island. It sees the island as a disconnected mass. To focus on perspective and point of view in this context is both imperative and instructive, because the cultural image or idea of an island that we have inherited – an island as an oasis, as a paradise, as exotic (to use that fraught term) – has been formulated from a point of remove. It is a colonial fabrication and a tactic of othering. Because an island is only an island in relation to something else. No matter where you’re standing, irrespective of geographic scale, isn’t the ground under your feet the mainland? When you’re in Europe, Australia is an island, when you’re in Sydney, that designation is given to Tasmania. It follows, then, that to define something as an island is to define it as other, as over there.

Profile for ANU School of Art & Design Gallery

Vanishing Point  

Vanishing Point Consuelo Cavaniglia, Ellen Dahl, Yvette Hamilton, Taloi Havini & Salote Tawale Main Gallery 16 May - 14 June 2019

Vanishing Point  

Vanishing Point Consuelo Cavaniglia, Ellen Dahl, Yvette Hamilton, Taloi Havini & Salote Tawale Main Gallery 16 May - 14 June 2019

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