An exhibition presented by the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery at The University of Western Australia (open Saturday 7 October until Saturday 16 December) provides new insights into the mutiny, murder and feats of survival surrounding the infamous Batavia shipwreck, through the eyes of archaeologists, scientists and artists.
The Dutch East India vessel Batavia was wrecked on Morning Reef in the Abrolhos Islands off the coast of WA in 1629 with 300 people on board. Those on board could not have imagined the bloody aftermath and enduring historical impact of the disaster, one of the darkest chapters in Australian maritime history.
New maritime archaeological findings carried out in the “Shipwrecks of the Roaring Forties: A Maritime Archaeological Reassessment of some of Australia’s Earliest Shipwrecks” study have revealed burial sites and skeletal fragments. The stories they have unearthed have been used to produce new works of art for the exhibition Batavia: Giving voice to the voiceless.
Batavia: Giving voice to the voiceless features contemporary works that combine science and art, sharing deep perceptual understandings of the Batavia wreck through photography, scans (X-ray, MRI), digital prints, virtual tours and artists’ books and paintings.
With contributions from Paul Bourke, Robert Cleworth, Daniel Franklin, Jeremy Green, Alistair Paterson, Paul Uhlmann, Corioli Souter, Jan Andriesse and filmmaker Maarten de Kroon, the exhibition retells the stories of those involved and takes the audience on a journey that helped shape Australian history.
UWA Chief Cultural Officer Professor Ted Snell said that while scientists forensically examined human remains using state-of-the-art equipment to gain new insights into the lives of the passengers and crew on board the Batavia, the artists have extended this process by working directly from the skeletal remains and archives to produce new works of art.
“Through a visual and auditory journey the exhibition combines interpretations of art and science and the human story of this tragedy lives on,” Professor Snell said.
Jess Reid (UWA Media and PR Advisor) (+61 8) 6488 6876