James Tylor: Nguya – The Australian Smallpox Pandemics: Monash Gallery of Art

'Red hot echidna spikes burning me, piercing me until pain overwhelms me.'

Nguya – The Australian Smallpox Pandemics explores the smallpox epidemics in Australia in the late 18th and the early 19th century. The series comprises landscape photographs from Warrang/Sydney, down the Murray Darling River and the South East coastline to Tarntanya/Adelaide following the historical path of the small pox epidemic across southern Australia. James has made an intervention in the photographs by placing small pinhole burns in the landscapes to represent the smallpox pustules and the sensation of the 'Red hot echidna spikes burning'.

 

'In a time when our contemporary experience of the COVID-19 global pandemic is considered by the media as "unprecedented" in the history of our country, I want to remind contemporary Australians of the smallpox epidemics that killed well over half the population of this continent only 200 years ago.' – James Tylor

 

All works are currently exhibiting at Monash Museum of Art, with select works available to view at N.Smith Gallery.

 

Enter the exhibition online here.