ARC ONE Gallery, Melbourne

1 March – 6 April 2024


Anne Zahalka has been working with photographic records of historical museum dioramas for many years. These educational ‘habitat displays’ from the 19th century presented pristine environments, frozen in time, communicating apparent ‘truths’ about the natural world and humanity. By disrupting this idealised space, Zahalka subverts the idea of fixed information to reimagine the changing relationship that exists between people and the natural world.

Future Past Present Tense is a new series, pushing her diorama-based compositions into exciting and ambitious forms. Zahalka adapts historical Australian dioramas via digital interventions, reimagining these original habitats. Instead of presenting a fixed historical truth, the artist forecasts other possible futures. Introducing some of the original creators, she digitally reconstructs these habitats to acknowledge First Nations people, the impact of colonisation and climate change, and reflects on the permanent altering of the Australian environment in the age of the Anthropocene.

Adrift, 2024
2 min loop
Animation by Emily Arthur

Future Past Present Tense
ARC ONE Gallery, Melbourne