ANTIPODES (2015)
       
     
I SEE RED (2015)
       
     
CROWNED COCKATROSE (2015)
       
     
CAPTAIN PHILLIP'S ACCLIMATISATION- GREYHOUND ACACIA DECORA (2015)
       
     
SEVEN EYED WATCHING WARATAH (2015)
       
     
JOSEPH BANKSIA? (2015)
       
     
PASTORAL INVASION (2015)
       
     
BUCOLIC BLOT (2015)
       
     
SHEEP ATE ALL THE YAM DAISIES (2015)
       
     
TJUKAPARTI JAMES (2015)
       
     
TJUKAPARTI JAMES (2015)
       
     
       
     
INSTALL VIEW (2015)
       
     
MERN, FOOD (2015)
       
     
NGATI, MOTHER (2015)
       
     
ARENG, ROCK WALLABY (2015)
       
     
MWERR, GOOD (2015)
       
     
IYET, TODAY (2015)
       
     
ITYA, NOTHING (2015)
       
     
ANTWEM, HIT (2015)
       
     
ANMATYERR HAND SIGNS INSTALL (2015)
       
     
ANTIPODES (2015)
       
     
ANTIPODES (2015)

shoe laces, silk, cotton, lycra, polar fleece
77cm x 64cm

Photograph Justin Russell

This body of work uses the metaphor of invasive, introduced, hybrid, native and mythological species of flora and fauna within the landscape as reminders for a re-examined shared history of Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australia. It is poignant in its use of symbols of flora and fauna, a reference to the botanical classification and collection of Indigenous people and cultural objects.

The ANTIPODES is a Western construct that depicts an exotic and faraway place, romanticising the landscape. 

This work is symbolic of ‘ideas’ of Australia, the other side of the world, where the seasons and phases of the moon are reversed, the trees shed their bark and the swans are black... 

The indigenous black swan and the english white swan are embodied within an ‘exotic’ elk horn species

I SEE RED (2015)
       
     
I SEE RED (2015)

army issue wool blankets, silk, urban camo, desert camo, Auscam, shoelaces, cotton, institutional sheets, polar fleece, lycra, steel rod
146cm x 160cm

Photograph Justin Russell

In weaving narrowly between meanings, green is representative of the landscape and natural form. In Australia in particular, its power and importance is complex, as well as ancient in scope. It holds the crux of humanity in its depth and has borne witness to the invasion, colonization, dispersion and assimilation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. To the colonialists, settlers and pastoralists, the romanticised bucolic green of the Australian bush was hostile before it could be tamed; bearing itself to the genre of Australian Gothic. 

A tall ship from the first fleet, bringing prickly pear to Australia from Brazil, in order to begin a cochineal industry; the squashed beetle that resides on the plant contains the various shades of red dye used for the ‘red coats’ of the British soldiers of the 18th Century. It was also one of the most invasive plants in Australian history. The work refers to land grab and the colonial means of changing the landscape in an applied and romanticised manner.

The hands hold various phases of the moon, representing celestial navigation.


 

CROWNED COCKATROSE (2015)
       
     
CROWNED COCKATROSE (2015)

army issued wool blankets, silk, urban camo, desert camo, Auscam, shoelaces, cotton, institutional sheets, polar fleece, lycra, steel rod
140cm x 91cm

Photograph Justin Russell

In reflecting a mirror to the past, the Crowned Cockatrose, is symbolic of an invasive mythical beast to be feared stalking in the bush, heralding a crown and a taste for land and sovereignty. The only way to kill such a beast – based on the legend of the Cockatrice – was for it to see its own reflection in a mirror.

The work embodies the Crowned Rose of Britain, the cardinal points of navigation, an ancient mythological beast that would die instantly if it looked upon itself in the mirror, and the introduced and now naturalised poplar tree (found lining the rural avenues and symbol of European history. The name Populus derives from the Roman times when the trees were planted around public places. It was also the wood that the Mona Lisa and most early Italian Renaissance paintings were painted on.) 

CAPTAIN PHILLIP'S ACCLIMATISATION- GREYHOUND ACACIA DECORA (2015)
       
     
CAPTAIN PHILLIP'S ACCLIMATISATION- GREYHOUND ACACIA DECORA (2015)

silk, urban camo, desert camo, Auscam, shoelaces, cotton, institutional sheets, polar fleece, lycra, steel rod
71cm x 65cm

Photograph Justin Russell

Captain Phillip’s Acclimatisation-Greyhound Acacia Decora considers past European cultural practices of colonisation, sovereignty and institutional governance that attempted to shape and conform both landscape and culture, including the 19th Century Acclimatisation Societies who sought to “beautify” the landscape with the familiar and by Eurocentric agricultural methods. Similarly, the work references mid 20th century examples of cultural theft in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander motifs were appropriated by non-Indigenous artists and designers to “decorate” domestic objects. The effects of such forms of sovereign control and imperial blindness are still in evidence today.

SEVEN EYED WATCHING WARATAH (2015)
       
     
SEVEN EYED WATCHING WARATAH (2015)

silk, high-vis polar fleece, Urban camo, Desert camo, Auscam, shoelaces, cotton, institutional sheets, steel rod
68cm x 81cm

Photograph Justin Russell

In looking towards the future, it is understood that we need to seek knowledge and connectedness. In Australia, we move closer to this knowledge as truths from history are revealed and recognised. Indigenous culture, language and wisdom of land are brought to the fore and celebrated.

JOSEPH BANKSIA? (2015)
       
     
JOSEPH BANKSIA? (2015)

linen, wool, silk, institutional sheets, mirror
25 cm diameter 

Photograph Justin Russell

This work questions Australia's story, asking us to 'recognise' our shared Indigenous and European history.

Here this native species is named after the main advocator of the colonisation of Australia, Joseph Banks.

Wad-ang-gari

At certain times of the year the flowers of wad-ang-gari, or heath banksia, are literally dripping with nectar. The Gadigal knew exactly when to collect the flowers and soaked them in water ti produce a sweet, high-energy drink (Aboriginal Bush foods, The Royal Botanical Gardens)

Wad-ang-gari were used to carry fire because the smouldering cones could be carried for long distances. (Banksia Species, The Royal Botanical Gardens)

 

 

PASTORAL INVASION (2015)
       
     
PASTORAL INVASION (2015)

linen, cotton, pink forestry tape, institutional sheets, desert camo, silk, mirror
25 cm diameter

Photograph Justin Russell

Blot on the landscape. The Church clamped barnacle-like to a Ghost gum, severely altered the cultural landscape. Yet the Church also facilitated the translation of the Bible into Pitjantjatjara, whereby written Aboriginal language was learnt by some Pitjantjatjara people. (From Nyurapaya Kaiko-Burton talk at the We are in Wonderland Symposium: New Experimental Art from Central Australia, UNSW Galleries, 2015) 

BUCOLIC BLOT (2015)
       
     
BUCOLIC BLOT (2015)

linen, cotton, mirror
25 cm diameter

Photograph Justin Russell

The introduction of sheep and cattle for profit quickly changed the landscape. Ideas of a pastoral paradise were often depicted in early bucolic paintings of the Australian landscape.

SHEEP ATE ALL THE YAM DAISIES (2015)
       
     
SHEEP ATE ALL THE YAM DAISIES (2015)

linen, institutional sheets, desert camo, cotton, lycra, mirror
25 cm diameter

Photograph Justin Russell

When sheep were introduced to Australia the first thing they ate was yam daisy, a staple tuber crop eaten by Aboriginal people.

As stated in the journals of Sturt and Thomas Mitchell, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were sophisticated agriculturalists, using forms of aqua-farming, dam-making and harvesting and storing field crops. (Bruce Pascoe, Dark Emu, 2014)

TJUKAPARTI JAMES (2015)
       
     
TJUKAPARTI JAMES (2015)

video still

 

TJUKAPARTI JAMES (2015)
       
     
TJUKAPARTI JAMES (2015)

single channel video 00:01:50
APY Lands red sand

The video work features Senior Law Woman and artist Tjukaparti James, from Docker River, Northern Territory.  She is using hand signs from the Pitjantjatjara language.

       
     
Tjukaparti James

Tjukaparti James
2015
Single channel HD video 01:50 looped
APY Lands red sand

The video work features the Pitjantjatjara Senior Law Woman and artist Tjukaparti James from Docker River, Norther Territory. The hand signs she uses are Pitjantjatjara. She uses hand signs to express: kangaroo, swimming, bush turkey, emu, man, woman....

INSTALL VIEW (2015)
       
     
INSTALL VIEW (2015)

A-M gallery

MERN, FOOD (2015)
       
     
MERN, FOOD (2015)

heraldry yarn
12 cm diameter, 22cm x 22cm framed

NGATI, MOTHER (2015)
       
     
NGATI, MOTHER (2015)

heraldry yarn
12 cm diameter, 22cm x 22cm framed

 

ARENG, ROCK WALLABY (2015)
       
     
ARENG, ROCK WALLABY (2015)

heraldry yarn
12 cm diameter, 22cm x 22cm framed

MWERR, GOOD (2015)
       
     
MWERR, GOOD (2015)

heraldry yarn
12 cm diameter, 22cm x 22cm framed

IYET, TODAY (2015)
       
     
IYET, TODAY (2015)

heraldry yarn
12 cm diameter, 22cm x 22cm framed

ITYA, NOTHING (2015)
       
     
ITYA, NOTHING (2015)

heraldry yarn
12 cm diameter, 22cm x 22cm framed

ANTWEM, HIT (2015)
       
     
ANTWEM, HIT (2015)

heraldry yarn
12 cm diameter, 22cm x 22cm framed

ANMATYERR HAND SIGNS INSTALL (2015)
       
     
ANMATYERR HAND SIGNS INSTALL (2015)

I would like to respectfully acknowledge the Gadigal clan of the Eora nations and the Darug, Guringai, Arrernte, Pitjantjarra peoples, the traditional custodians of the land on which these works were created and were exhibited.
I would also like to acknowledge and kindly thank the following people for sharing their wisdom, knowledge and resources:  Tjukaparti James, Nurina Burton, Selena Kulitja, Esmerelda Kulitja, Gary Foley, April Campbell from Ti Tree Community, Jennifer Green and her hand sign illustrations, Margaret Carew, the
Anmatyerr, Warlpiri, Ngaatjatjarra and Kaytetye Sign Language consultants who appear on www.iltyemiltyem.com.  I would like to acknowledge and thank for their wisdom, knowledge and inspiration: Wanta Jampijinpa Pawu-Kurlpurlurnu, r e a, Marcia Langton, Bruce Pascoe.

The small tapestry weavings and video work look at honoring the signing practices of Central and Western Desert Aboriginal language groups, including Anmatyerr, Kaytetye, Ngaatjatjarra, and Pitjantjatjara languages, in which hand signs constitute a complex language system used in addition to, and sometimes instead of, spoken language. The weavings depict a shape from the dynamic form of hand actions used to express meaning. These works seek to celebrate, now and for the future Indigenous languages, and to honour the authority of Indigenous Knowledge and Culture.