Amelia van der Laan de Vries, ‘Reproductive Behaviour of Fish’ 2021. Fineliner pen on paper. 40cm x 55cm. Image courtesy: the artist.

Artist statement

The series draws influence from old taxonomic charts to depict Carl Linnaeus, known as the ‘father’ of taxonomy, in different stages of reproductive courtship with a zebrafish. It aims to challenge power relations and perceived heirarchies of knowledge in science and western culture. It references the historical link between taxonomy and scientific racism, and the paternalistic control of reproductive rights (based on racist measures of intelligence) during the eugenics movement. It highlights the irony of eugenic thought in the face of current knowledge of our close genetic similarity to fish and questions the limits of western systems of knowledge, which have become increasingly disconnected from nature.

Follow Amelia on Instagram @vanderlaanamelia

Acknowledgement of Country

UNSW School of Art & Design stands on an important place of learning and exchange first occupied by the Bidjigal and Gadigal peoples.

We acknowledge the Bidjigal and Gadigal peoples as the Traditional Custodians of the land that our students and staff share, create and operate on. We pay our respects to Elders past and present and extend this respect to all First Nations peoples across Australia. Sovereignty has never been ceded.