‘Brown Bears’ is from Anne Zahalka’s body of work, ‘Wild Life’, presenting high-gloss photographs featuring actual dioramas from the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Part readymade, and also a site for manipulation and intervention, Zahalka’s images of these famous dioramas bring into question the display practices of museums and the position of authority they reinforce with regard to knowledge, classification and collection. The world outside the museum has changed too however, with ready access to information and ease of travel. Why visit a museum when we can research via internet, watch re-enactments of dinosaur stampedes on TV, or pay for a spot on an eco-tour?
Zahalka has held more than 40 solo exhibitions and been curated into over 140 group exhibitions across the world, including the Australian Embassy in Washington, GEM/Fotomuseum in Den Haag, the Chulalangkorn Art Centre, Bangkok, the Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo, and the Sala del Canal de Isabel II in Madrid, Spain. Her works are held in major national and international collections including National Gallery of Australia, Art Gallery of New South Wales, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, Australian Bicentennial Collection, National Art Gallery, Wellington (NZ), Parliament House, Canberra, National Gallery of Victoria, Sir Elton John Collection, Deutsche Bank Collection, International Polaroid Collection, USA, Visart, New York and numerous other regional galleries, universities and private collections.