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East Coast Encounter

Co - Curator

Stage: Development


Cultural Awareness

Artist Collaboration

Cultural Research

Artist Promotion


Resource Publication

Touring Exhibition

Film Documentary

Key Dates

Project Development

2012 - 2013

Exhibition Launch

31 May 2014, Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney

Tour east coast Australia

2015 - 2017


  1. Co-Curator

  2. Project Manager


  1. Lead Artists

  2. Peter Hudson

  3. Neil Murray

  4. University of the Sunshine Coast

Project Partners

  1. Sunshine Coast Council

  2. M&GSQ

  3. One Day Hill Publication

  4. Ian Thorpe Fountain for Youth

  5. Australian National Maritime Museum

  6. Arts Queensland

  7. Australia Council

Exhibition open: Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney    9 May - 24 August 2014

Tour launch: Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney    31 May 2014

The East Coast Encounter (ECE) is a multi-arts initiative involving significant Australian Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists, writers and songwriters to re-imagine the encounter by Lt. James Cook and his crew with Aboriginal people in 1770. Cook’s voyage along the Australian east coast has become central to national historical narratives.

The exhibition is innovative in seeking to re-envisage this seminal journey by imaginatively exploring moments of contact between two world views during these encounters. In addressing the exhibition’s theme, the artists will produce work which is informed by several key sites where Cook and his crew engaged with Indigenous people: Botany Bay, K’gari/Fraser Island, Town of 1770, Palm Island and Cooktown as well as the highly symbolic site of Possession Island. Works will explore topics such as literal and metaphorical encounter, reconciliation, differing ways of seeing and knowing, journeys and forms of mapping, nature and culture, and views of country.

The exhibition features work by prominent and emerging artists, working across a range of art forms, whose creative practice explores aspects of country and culture and who are recognised as distinctive story-tellers. Additionally, the selected artists broadly represent the key encounter language group nations and regions. Exhibition works will incorporate a range of media including painting, photography, three-dimensional works and installation. These will be enhanced and juxtaposed by a small selection of historical artefacts and documents. Another component of ECE will be the inclusion of historical and contemporary material and performances by leading singer songwriter/poets. A short documentary on DVD, created by Jeff McMullen and Adric Watson, will further enrich the exhibition by giving additional voice to the artists, capturing their own encounters with significant sites and traditional owners, and showing how their varying viewpoints sit together.

East Coast Encounter will also be informed by dialogue, exchange and cultural material from the many Aboriginal nations along coastal NSW and Queensland. Connection with some communities has been undertaken, with appropriate protocols, by participating artists and curators. These dialogues will be expanded by an indigenous researcher.  It is anticipated that there may be oral histories and other material held within the communities that can inform the project, including the publications, and contribute to the ethos of balance and access that underpins the exhibition.

Visiting various sites has been a profound and moving experience for many of the participants.

The resulting engagements with traditional owners, communities and places connected with the historical encounter have been central to the development of East Coast Encounter and inform the final works.


Kamay/Botany Bay

Glass House Mountains

K’gari/Fraser Island

Town of 1770

Magnetic Island



Bedanug/Possession Island


Bianca Beetson

Michael Cook

Adam Hill

Garth Lena

Gail Mabo

Arone Meeks

Gordon Syron

Judy Watson


Neil Healey

Peter Hudson

Euan Macleod

Ann Thomson

Adric Watson


Gemma Cronin

Shane Howard

Neil Murray


Jeff McMullen


Lisa Chandler

John Waldron


University of the Sunshine Coast

Arts Queensland
Australia Council

Sunshine Coast Council

Ian Thorpe Fountain for Youth

One Day Hill Publication

Museum & Gallery Services Qld

Seek Learning

Blue Sky View

Australian National Maritime Museum & The Temporary and Permanent crew of the HMB Endeavour


Australian National Maritime Museum Sydney    9 May 2014 - 24 August 2014

Port Macquarie Hastings Regional Gallery    28 February 2015 - 24 April 2015

Gold Coast City Gallery    1 May 2015 - 7 June 2015

Caloundra Regional Gallery    1 July 2015 - 16 August 2015

Redland Art Gallery    11 October – 22 November 2015

Hervey Bay Regional Gallery    4 December 2015 - 31 January 2016

ArtSpace Mackay    29 January 2016 - 13 March 2016

TYTO Regional Art Gallery  Ingham,   11 March 2016 - 7 April 2016

KickArts Cairns    11 April 2016 - 15 May 2016

Cooktown    1 June 2016 - 30 July 2016

Pinnacles Gallery Townsville    23 September 2016 - 30 October 2016

Caboolture Regional Art Gallery    19 November 2016 - 21 January 2017

Lockyer Valley Art Gallery Gatton    1 February 2017 - 30 March 2017

Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery    1 April 2017 - 30 June 2017

Project enquiries

Adric Watson, East Coast Encounter, 2012

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This project has received administrative and financial support from Sunshine Coast Council; Museum and Gallery Services Queensland; The University of the Sunshine Coast; Arts Queensland and the Australia Council

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