Australian, born 1952; lives and works in Sydney
The Pioneer 1992 (printed 2021)
pigment ink on rag paper mounted onto gatorboard
Courtesy of the artist, Arc One Gallery, Melbourne, and Dominik Mersch Gallery, Sydney
© Anne Zahalka
In The Pioneer Anne Zahalka reworks the central panel of McCubbin’s triptych, removing the seated bushman to emphasise the role of women in settling the land, and to rewrite the dominant narrative of the role of men in nation-building.
In creating this new framework based on diversity and inclusion, Zahalka is cognisant of the impact of altering much-loved paintings, reflecting in a 2016 interview:
Seeing [historical images] subverted and parodied can be affronting to some, especially when the pieces represent very different social, cultural or ethnic backgrounds. Not only do they occupy a space reserved for these revered characters, they, in fact, replace them … I feel a responsibility [however] to give voice to these groups and individuals, and to present them through familiar and powerful images of the past.