Here are the completed works from my recent graduating exhibition.
This film records my decision to remove the crow body from the shroud revealing the shadowy stain beneath. I also decide to leave the butcher bird’s body stuck to the canvas. Although I found the crow’s body beautiful, I could see the objectification once the work hung in the gallery. The presence of the crow shroud stain however counteracts the objectification of the butcher bird remains due to visual subservience to the crow who feeds on death.
A week later a murder of crows had gathered at the body of their own kind creating a cacophony as they fought over the remains.
The end of my research project has come…
opening 21st March at SOA Gallery ANU 6pm
On the 20th of January 2013 Adam and I traveled to Tony and Steven’s farm to collect the Shrouds we had left at the end of Spring late October 2012. They had therefore been there for about 3 months, longer than I usually leave them. This was due to my arrangement for Michal to film their collection and processing today after she returned from the summer break, but unfortunately she could not make it.
The bodies were looking beautifully dried out so collection of the mammal canvases was no problem as the maggots during the wet decomposition phase had gone and beetle infestation during the dry decomposition phase had begun. The bandicoot looked particularly interesting and the cockatoo stunning as expected. This was my first use of the trampoline and the result was amazing as water had pooled on the surface absorbing a rich brown pigment I assume from the tree bark but maybe the bodies contributed. We chatted to Tony afterwards and he discussed the recent fires and their lucky escape.
At home I boiled up more eucalyptus leaves I had collected from the site tree using gas to heat the old copper. After purifying the hare for just a short while I left the possum over night and it achieved a rich brown tinge. I left the cockatoo/bandicoot as it was, just hanging it out to air. As it has not been creased like the others from the dye pot and is larger due to the trampoline space, I am not going to stretch it on a frame, but simply nail it to the wall.
My last shroud will be a large black crow and a tiny coloured finch which I have arranged Michal to film. Although Adam took the bed bases home from the site, we left the trampoline ready for the crow and finch.
In writing about my enculturation into Kunwinjku culture I employ as many words from Bininj Kunwok as I can.
One of my first references was the Etherington’s book below:
Laden with materia prima in the form of sacred ochres from Around Australia and a funerary cloth holding the bodily pigments of a chough and starling, I bring them into dialogue through painting process.
I have recently worked into three spring shrouds from 2011. Collecting wattle flowers and pounding them into soaked wattle gum I smear the ground of the magpie stain. Mixing wattle gum with charcoal pieces and delek (the white ochre I collected in Arnhem Land) I work into the stain recreating the post decomposition feathers long since blown away. Lastly I add yellow garlba to the areas once littered by leaves. The lamb shrouds only have the addition of delek. In Resurrection I add the pre-decomposition wool and a little silk stich on the hooves. To Sacred field I add the post decomposition wool to the stain which spreads out into the ground merging with and responding to stains left by other debris at the site.
Today Michal Glikson, a fellow postgraduate painter at the ANU, accompanied Adam, Tepi and I on our return to Steven and Tony’s farm to instal a spring shroud set. Michal has generously offered to film the shroud process which in this case features a cockatoo found in Dickson by Nigel my theory supervisor, a bandicoot found by my brother in Vincentia, a lizard found by Tepi and her friends in Hackett, a possum I found in Ainslie and a hare I found in Watson. Upon arriving we caught up with Tony, who had sad news about their dog blondie, she had died, they think due to eating rat poison. Tepi was upset as she loved visiting her, but it had been a long time since we had been to the farm. During the setting up under the same eucalyptus tree, which now has finches living in it, we even had a picnic. There was a lot of sheep and cow dung around and the grass appeared full of sheep wool. The spring lambs were big rather than newborn by this time and we found a few dried out casualties, but it had been a better season than last spring when I had produced all the lamb shrouds.