Humans are social animals. We feel the need to identify, to belong. An extension of this is ownership: setting up fences, laws and etiquette to define, contain and guard what is mine, what is yours, what is ours. We conquer nations; assimilating culture, customs and language. Possessing more and more. Priding ourselves on our property, our status, our achievements, our values. Imbuing them with stories to build our importance and self worth… the ever increasing mine. Mine is act of ownership. Mine is an act of entitlement. Mine is an act of violence.
Mine: Used to indicate the one or ones belonging to me1.
Mine: An excavation in the earth from which ore or minerals can be extracted2.
Mine: An explosive device used to destroy enemy personnel, shipping, fortifications, or equipment, often placed in a concealed position and designed to be detonated by contact, proximity, or a time fuse3.
Exhibited in Canopy at Mundaring Arts Centre 2 May – 8 June 2014
Participating artists: Peter Dailey, Mel Dare, Joanne Duffy, Bec Juniper, Norma MacDonald, Clare McFarlane, Alan Muller, Perdita Phillips, Gregory Pryor, Nien Schwarz, Nalda Searles, David Small, Holly Story, Paul Uhlmann, Linda van der Merwe and Philip Ward-Dickson.
In light of the recent UNESCO World Heritage Committee rejection of the Federal Government’s bid to reverse the world heritage listing of part of the Tasmanian wilderness, a timely exhibition is on display at Mundaring Arts Centre. Canopy – Into the Forest is a group show featuring painting, sculpture and photography from 16 leading WA artists. The title carries a dual meaning as both above (canopy) and within (into the forest). This suggests a key tension between a limited view of the surface and delving more deeply into the layers beneath.
As the curators Peggy Lyon and Ashley Yihsin Chang note, the show reflects this by teasing out the conflict “between what we as a community need to do for our own long-term survival (look after the land and its unique ecosystems) and what we as individuals want to do for our own short-term pleasure or gain”.
The artists were invited to make artwork referencing the “the natural and cultural legacy we have inherited” in Australia as a colonised country. While the legacy of indigenous populations is intimate knowledge of living within the country and the meanings contained therein, colonial legacy is more about taking from the land for the purposes of settlement and industry.