Anne Zahalka is one of Australia’s most highly regarded photo-media artists having exhibited extensively in Australia and overseas for more than thirty years. Her work has often explored cultural stereotyping and challenged these with a humorous and critical voice. She deconstructs familiar images and re-presents them to allow other figures and stories to be told that reflect on cultural diversity, gender and difference within Australian society.
This year, Zahalka is continuing her investigation into the relationship between people and the natural world, which she began in her series ‘Wild Life’ (first in 2006 and then in 2017). Now, she extends into new territory with her 2018 series ‘Wild Life in the Age of the Anthropocene’. Scientists have used the term ‘Anthropocene’ to describe an ecological turning point where the impact of human behaviour has significantly and permanently affected our planet, contributing to drastic changes on climate. In response to this, Zahalka has travelled to natural history museums across the world to record dioramas, first in New York and more recently in Mumbai. Here, the artist turns a compelling and critical lens onto taxidermied animals in lush, constructed environments based on science, questioning not only our impact on the natural world, but also the way in which these museums construct knowledge. In these images, didactic tools are turned on their heads through her digital interventions. Zahalka introduces planes slashing across a painted sky, rubbish piling up beside an animal encounter, and cityscapes infiltrating the horizon in order to mark out unsettling ethical issues.
Zahalka has exhibited extensively in Australia and internationally for over 20 years. Her works are held in most major public collections in Australia as well as numerous private and corporate collections in Australia and overseas.
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