Whiteman premonitions is a self portrait with spoken word. It includes a story of a premonition of europeans coming to Gippsland before they had arrived. This knowledge was passed on through song to an anthropologist by Elder Bungil Noorook. Exploring a strange duality, this piece poses the question. Was there someone looking back at the ships where Cook’s fleet first saw land at Point Hicks in Gippsland? The work is presented on a painted television set, which was a feature of Paton’s exhibition/installation Terra nullius loungeroom.
Steaphan Paton is an interdisciplinary artist based in Melbourne. A member of the Gunai and Monaro nations, he grew up in Gippsland. Paton was highly commended for the Lin Onus Award at the 2007 Victorian Indigenous Art Awards for the drawing Dyillah (2007) and was a finalist in the 2007, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 awards. In 2011, Paton received a City of Melbourne Laneways Commission for his project ‘Urban Doolagahl’. His exhibition at the Melbourne Museum, called ‘Booruns Canoe’, is a collaboration telling of intergenerational knowledge through the art of canoe making. Paton’s work ‘Cloaked Combat’ was part of Melbourne NOW at the National Gallery of Victoria, and is now part of the collection. Paton’s work is informed by his interest in the environment, anthropology, archaeology and continuing Aboriginal knowledge, traditions and stories.