Michael Cook / Bidjara people / Australia b.1968 / Majority Rule (Bridge) 2014 / Inkjet print, ed. 1/3 / 162.5 x 220cm / Purchased 2014. Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Michael Cook

Michael Cook
Majority Rule (Bridge) 2014

Not Currently on Display

‘Majority Rule’ is a series of seven images staged in various familiar city locations. In each image, the same Indigenous man appears as a repeated motif to pose a question about the reversal of the social structure in Australia: ‘What if Indigenous Australians were the majority?

The architecture and clothing of the figure in Majority Rule (Bridge) 2014 suggest an undefined era. The style of the figure’s suit, his hat, braces and briefcase could be from a period up to fifty years ago. The stark black and white photograph is a departure from Cook’s previous style and aesthetic, yet the carefully choreographed image continues the artist’s approach to subtly question our ingrained belief systems.

Michael Cook is a descendant of the Bidjara people of south-west Queensland. Adopted as an infant by a non-Indigenous family, he was later encouraged to find his Aboriginal birth mother and to learn about his heritage.

A successful commercial fashion photographer in Australia and overseas for over 25 years, Cook was drawn to art photography as a means to explore his ancestry. His expertise in digital image-making and post-production techniques lends an ethereal quality to this re-imagining of Australian history.

Cook constructs his images in a manner more akin to painting than to traditional photographic studios or documentary models.