My supervisor Nigel Lendon alerted me to the existence of a burial platform replica across from my studio by the lake in front of Old Canberra House. It was a collaborative project to which Nigel contributed his skill in construction. It is attributed to Djon Mundine/Fiona Foley who initiated the concept and use kangaroo bones as a metaphor for human remains. It is titled Ngaraka: Shrine for the Lost Koori 2001 and mirrors my own yearnings for this type of burial practice in which the body and its decomposition play a major part in the mourning process. It could be said that the natural disintegration of the body following death defines the active and public period of mourning. A sense of closure is then physically experienced with the second burial when the bones are collected, in the north of Australia painted with red ochre, and ceremonially placed in a log coffin or rock crevice.
In my current painting process I have partly replicated this treatment of the dead by collecting recently deceased animals and placing them on a makeshift burial platform that uses spring based bed frames. This process was developed in order to collect bodily pigments on canvas creating a shroud. I am considering collecting the bones from the next set of shrouds, which I produce over the summer period.