Kamberra = meeting point or woman’s breasts
The central question that populates the work of indigenous artist Michael Cook in his beautiful and enchanting series of “Broken Dreams” is quite simple: what if the British, instead of completely and summarily dismissing Aboriginal people and their culture, took a more open approach to their people, culture and knowledge systems?
This art work became our guiding motivation for the Lodge on the Lake Ideas Competition in Canberra, some of which can be seen on the Stephen Collier Architects website. Taking the image of the semi naked Aboriginal woman wearing a French sailors hat, and a parrot hovering above (referencing the artist’s own history), we created a mix of forms, both formal and informal, that are intertwined with colourful gardens of native and exotic plants.
Using Cook’s compelling series of propositions, the “what if ” of art, history, culture and identity become the ‘what if” of a distinctly Australian form of design. Conciliation in 1788 would have created a complimentary mix of architectural variations and distortions. This country would be one where the chances of an indigenous or non-indigenous Prime Minister would have been the same at every election since Federation. And Australia would now have an equal meeting of cultures and (cultural) influence.
It’s never too late to dream.