1. My Jindabyne II, 2018, Single channel digital video, colour, silent, Ed 3/3, Collection of Latrobe Regional Gallery, purchased 2021.
Artist Steaphan Paton’s work questions governmental forms of control that entrench the impacts of colonialism. Paton’s tertiary qualifications in environmental management and contemporary art underscore his interest in the tools of power over the land. Paton uses a contemporary approach – with a range of media and wry humour to ask questions about ownership, property and place.
My Jindabyne II 2018 presents a silent landscape. It is a landscape the artist has stitched together with multiple videos taken from a car to show the undulating mountains, and valleys of south-east New South Wales. There is immutable character and significance to this location as the artist’s Country, Monero. As a result, the landscape becomes fluid – coexistent, contrasting Indigenous and colonial perspectives.
The video keeps showing the same portion of the countryside. The cuts, the slices are visible and emphasise the construction of the landscape. The artist describes this view of the landscape as being like a 4th-dimensional view. The artist may mean that the video seeks to encompass physical, spiritual, and social realms—all within a 30-second looping video.
A notable work, Nullius in Verba not included in this exhibition, looks at hunting. This work presents bow and arrows that are not traditional to Aboriginal Australians and shields but with designs belonging to Paton’s patrilineal line.
Today Gippsland is a centre of deer hunting and duck shooting in Australia. However, with this work, Paton reminds us that this is not the first time Gippsland has been associated with hunting. Still, its trajectory continues through space and time to the present.