Saturday, 25 January 2020

Where the Bloody Hell Are Ya?

Ok, so not such a polite title, but then, as things stand, it takes a lot to get people's attention. Even more so when online.

Also, this is a tag line for an advertising campaign. A $180 million advertising campaign launched by Tourism Australia in 2006, under the supervision of Australia's current Prime Minister, Scott Morrison. A Prime Minister who decided to go to Hawaii, when his country was burning.

'Where the Bloody Hell Are Ya?' formed the premise for broadcasting the wonders of Australia's countryside. A countryside that started burning much earlier in the summer season in the south of the continent, and much further than usual.

Apparent contributing factors to this appeared to be long dry months of drought for at least 3 years; winds; over use of water; non-clearance of bush to manage fires, and a dipole over the Indian Ocean.

And it also seemed that it may be the unmentionable. Shh, did someone say climate change?

In Australia, it seems it is never the time to mention climate change.

No matter what happens. Be it fire, drought, or extremes of temperature and weather...now is not the time to discuss climate change.

I will not go into my own personal views. Humanity, and humanity's learning, is young. Mistakes are needed when growing, and to learn.

But my emotional response to this, and to the voiceless, needs an expression.

Loss of human life, especially preventable death, is tragic, and awful. Loss of property is also difficult to bear, although materially, of less importance.

Loss of life for all those other creatures sharing this space...that indeed, are attempting to cope and survive with everything that we inflict upon it, needs also to be acknowledged.

Hence, I decided that my artwork, for submission into Darwin Visual Arts Association members' Climate Change Exhibition, 31 Jan - 22 Feb 2020, would use the iconic koala.

Fewer things say the fragile nature of Australia's wildlife, quite like the koala. Treated in such a way as to appear as an exhibit. Stuffed, materialistically, as if in a museum...shown as if this is a precious exhibit. Perhaps even extinct. Indeed, such are the low numbers of the koala, that it is now considered to be functionally extinct in the wild. Setting aside reasons for these fires, this loss of life appears to be endangering the very existence of these creatures. Aboriginal Australians consider themselves to be custodians of the land, rather than consumers or owners...is there much to learn here?



Where the Bloody Hell Are Ya?
Prize winning entry
Exhibited in Darwin Visual Arts Association Members' Climate Exhibition,
31 Jan - 22 Feb 2020
1/8 McMinn Street, Darwin, Northern Territory

Darwin City Light Box Exhibition - from May 2020 


One can imagine too, that this is a gift. For services rendered within government. An acknowledgement for all the hard work. And inside the bell jar? A fire starts.

An imagined mother, carrying her child, whilst all around her, the fire spreads.

And emblazoned on the brass plate, the words 'Where the Bloody Hell Are Ya?'

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