This blog began to document my PhD research undertaken at the ANU in the painting workshop. During this time I developed a new way to represent animals by harnessing the decomposition of animal bodies in order to produce what I call the Shroud. I also travelled to Western Arnhem Land to the Kunwinjku speaking community of Kunbarlanja where I worked at Injalak Art Centre and learned about rock and bark painting (kunwarrde bim and dolobbo bim). I also collected sacred ochres or delek from dreaming sites with traditional owners of the Warrdjak clan in Maburrinj.

Pictured below is the first Shroud (decomposition print) I ever made of a large male kangaroo in the Monaro on animal sculptor Steven Holland and his partner Tony’s property, summer 2008.

Putrescent (kangaroo shroud) 2008
Putrescent (Monaro Summer male kangaroo) 2008. Kangaroo, rabbit skin glue, gesso on canvas

In the summer of 2022 I found myself in a state of loss contemplating this kangaroo stain, my first shroud, now faded and full of holes. I began to repair the canvas, sewing into the brittle cloth with canvas thread pulled from its edges. I scrolled through my Monaro shroud process image bank finding photos where my beautiful in tact family frolicked on the barren shroud site amidst thistles and death. The devoted father of my children smiling in his cowboy hat, my daughter’s empathic expression as she gazed upon the body of a fox curled in fetal position. My rambunctious son jumping on the back of my daughter – to her squeals of protest. I painted them in silhouettes under a swirling mauve caput mortuum filled ‘mount sinabue’.

Memory Menage (Monaro Summer Male Kangaroo 2008) 2022. Gesso, caput mortuum, aquarelle, cotton thread, rabbit skin glue and kangaroo on canvas. 118 x 163 cm.