Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Royal Park
5 December 2020 – 18 July 2021
Anne Zahalka turns her lens to historic dioramas from the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (QVMAG) for her ongoing series Wild Life, Australia.
Zahalka’s series unearths early Australian dioramas from natural history museums around the country and recreates them in a contemporary frame. Contrasted with the original dioramas, these works raise unsettling ethical and environmental issues, reflecting on the changing role of public museums and their collections.
In reviving the original dioramas and contrasting them with her newly staged ones, Zahalka is reminding us that museums are political spaces. What initially seems like an objective natural history display actually contains powerful messages about the way institutions privilege particular narratives about the environment.
In an era of climate change awareness, this exhibition encourages audiences to question the information they receive from all sources, including museum displays.