Sandboxed

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Sourcing found objects

Sandboxed (2017). Mixed media installation organised by Deborah Cain, with a Roller Derby performance by Roxanne Grant.
Materials: Sand, wooden box structure, small acrylic resin collage paintings on board; pile of second hand books; corroded metal pipes; messages-in-glass jars; pages from Alice in Wonderland; hourglass.

Off the Wall, Members Exhibition at the Arts and Cultural Development Council Geraldton (ACDC) Community Gallery, 9-25 February 2017. 189 Marine Terrace Geraldton WA 6530

Sandboxed: humorously plays with contained space, family, summer reading, and the arts & culture in Geraldton (city-as-place with its sand, the Indian Ocean, the wind, boats in the harbour, and people playing nicely in the sand pit).

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With the power of words in mind, Edward Albee’s play The Sandbox and its absurd family dynamics, the outdoors, the exercising figure doing calisthenics (performed on 9 Feb by Roxanne Grant), Sandboxed presents ideas/questions of the healthy/unhealthy body: an individual, arts, community, or city. Reflections on Tim Winton and the happenstance of book titles found in Marine Terrace Second hand bookstores; the text-in-a-jar of Alice’s encounter with Humpty Dumpty, and their exchange on words; and, Alice’s curious relational experience of size in the extract ‘The pool of tears’; as well as an hourglass that stands for shifting sands, fluidity of time, transformations of culture, & notions of history.

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Boats now ‘n then
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Sub-marine Atlas

Some boats in particular:

1629 (2002)

1969 (2008)

2013

 

 

Performance for Sandboxed by Roxanne Grant, 9.2.17, photo stills, video by Deb Cragan.

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DCAIN RESEARCH & PUBLICATIONS

List of research and publications by Deborah Cain / Deborah Ryan

Academic Theses:

2007 Semiotics of Self: Reflections on the Work of Louise Bourgeois. Doctoral thesis, University of Auckland, Auckland.

1994 Between the Lines: Reflections on the Art of Michael Shepherd. Unpublished MSocSci thesis, University of Waikato, Hamilton.

Journal Articles & Essays:

2017 ‘Sadness of the city: Reflections on Shanghai and Istanbul’. In T. Clark, E. Findlay & P. Kelly (Eds.). Worldmaking: Literature, language, culture. [FILLM 5] FILM Studies in Language and Literature 5, (pp. 133-144). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: John Benjamins Publishing Company. DOI: 10.1075/fillm.5 Retrieve from https://benjamins.com/#catalog/books/fillm.5/main

2015 Nature studied: Trees, plants, gardens. Exhibition at the Geraldton Regional Art Gallery, 4-25 September 2015. Catalogue. Geraldton: Sun City Press. Cited by Renata Buziak http://renata-buziak.com/news/105/67/Nature-studied-Trees-plants-gardens

2012 ‘Walking Backwards, Reading Lu Xun: Shanghai, 2011’, Reading Room Journal, Issue 05.12 (August). pp.134-151.

2010 ‘About Photography’, in exhibition catalogue, ‘Nowhere’ now here, eds. Trish Macky and Naomi Williams. Calder and Lawson Gallery, WEL Energy Trust Academy of Performing Arts, University of Waikato. [February-March]

2008 Review: The Text Morton Songbook, by Gordon Spittle. 12 October, http://eyecontactartforum.blogspot.com.au/2008/10/here-is-something-little-unusual-music.html

2007 ‘Extended Summer Musings on Two Art Shows in Hamilton’s Waikato Museum of Art & History Te Whare Taonga o Waikato, 2006-2008’. 5 January, Ed. John Hurrell, http://eyecontactartforum.blogspot.com/2008/01/

2007 ‘Existence Reviewed’, an exhibition review of Existence: Life According to Art at the Waikato Museum, 14 July 2007–14 January 2008, published in CS Arts. Issue 29, Feb 2008. Christchurch, www.cs.org.nz.

2007 ‘Mist/Missed/Taxi Der Mist: A Certain Darkness and a Mist of Words’, essay, in exhibition monograph, Comma Dot Dogma, ed. Aaron Kreisler. Wellington, Umbrella, 2007. [Finalist in Montana New Zealand Book Award 2008, as a publication nominated for the Illustrative category]. Cain cited at the end of Horrocks, Shirley, Dir. & Pro. (2015) Tom Who? The enigma of Tom. [Documentary/Art Film] https://www.nzonscreen.com/title/enigma-of-tom-kreisler-2015

2006 ‘Whitefella Cleaning? Topographies in Translation’, Sites, June 2006. https://sites.otago.ac.nz/Sites/article/view/38

2005 ‘On Painting: a poppy and a cotton-reel tractor’, Ramp Magazine, Issue 3 (August), hardcopy and published on line, www.rampmagazine.org, pp.31-35.

2004 ‘A Fence Too Far?: Postcolonial Guilt and the Myth of Distance in Rabbit Proof Fence’. Third Text, 69, 18.4 July, pp.297-303. http://www.thirdtext.org/issues?item_id0=674&issue_number=Volume%2018,%202004&offset=0

2003 ‘The Death of a God: Polyphony in the Work of John Pule’. ‘NGA WAKA’, ANZAAE Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Art Educators, refereed conference proceedings, Vol. One (1).

2002 ‘Criss-cross: intersections and contemplations’, exhibition catalogue up/down\up Easter Arts Festival, Canterbury Museum, Christchurch.

2001 ‘Toying with Totem (?)’ Third Text, 56, Autumn, pp.19-24. http://www.thirdtext.org/issues?item_id0=687&issue_number=Volume%2015,%202001&offset=0

2001 ‘Tom Kreisler in Hamilton – 1999 Private & Confidential’. Art New Zealand 100, August, pp.74-76, 127.

1995 ‘The Last Picture Show at the Centre for Contemporary Art’. Art New Zealand 75, pp.84-87.

1994 ‘Centre for Contemporary Art, Hamilton: 1982-1994’. Gallery brochure for Hamilton Art Centre, Hamilton.

1994 ‘Mark Cross: Landscapes’. Essay for exhibition catalogue, John Leech Gallery, Auckland.

1993 ‘The Gesture Of Her Pose’. Exhibition pamphlet for Merilyn Fairskye: Invisible Painting (touch-nothing), Artspace, The Gunnery, Woolloomooloo, Sydney. Deborah Ryan, cited http://www.fairskye.com/bibliography.htm

1992 ‘Difference and Identity: Reflections on the work of Trinh T. Minh-ha and L. Budd/Merylyn Tweedie/et al’. The Olive Pink Society Bulletin, 4:2, pp.19-28.

Other Productions:

2016 Curator, Living statue performance (Lizzy Robinson) and art tour walk, linked to the launch of the City Art Map Geraldton, 2-3 September, https://deborahcain12.wordpress.com/2016/09/10/city-art-map-geraldton/

2016 Producer, City Art Map Geraldton, an art project supported by City of Greater Geraldton Community Grant Funding. https://www.cgg.wa.gov.au/live/my-community/arts-and-culture.aspx

2015 Curator, ‘Nature Studied: Trees, Plants, Gardens’. 4-25 September, Geraldton Regional Art Gallery, Geraldton, Western Australia. https://deborahcain12.wordpress.com/2016/10/21/nature-studied-trees-plants-gardens/

2015 What is public art? Sunset Salon, ACDC Community Arts Geraldton, Geraldton, Western Australia, 7 May

2015 Botanic Garden Wish Tree Events, Geraldton: Harmony Day, 21 March; Quaff Food & Wine Expo, 9 May; WA Day at the WA Museum, Geraldton, Western Australia, 1 June

2007 Invited Presentation. ‘A Fence Too Far? Guilt and distance in the film Rabbit Proof Fence’. 26 February, in Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, Washington DC.

2007 Public Floor Talk, on the work of Tom Kreisler. ‘Tom Kreisler, 10 November – 15 December 2007 Exhibition’, Artspace, Auckland, New Zealand, 1 December.

2001 Public Floor Talk, on the work of Tom Kreisler. ‘Private and Confidential’ exhibition, The Gus Fisher Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand, 11 October.

2001 Panel discussant, ‘Private and Confidential: The Art of Tom Kreisler’. Displacement and Creativity Symposium, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand, 4-5 Sept

2001 Curator, ‘European Painting: Simulation’. July – August, Ramp Gallery, The Waikato Polytechnic (now Wintec), Hamilton, New Zealand. Cited on http://michaellett.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Julian-Dashper-CV.pdf

2001 Producer & Director, ‘Ko e Tala i 18 e Kala’, a video essay of John Pule’s suite of 18 drawings, Death of a God, in the exhibition ‘People Get Ready’, at Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand.

City Art Map Geraldton: Impressions

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“Stop walking all over me” graffiti footpath text on Marine Terrace, Geraldton https://www.google.com/maps/place/Geraldton+WA+6530,+Australia/

Art in Geraldton’s public realm is found in galleries, museums, artist studios, and the street. It is on buildings, in foyers, recreation parks, laneways, alcoves, parking lots, festivals and markets. And it is in schools, university or TAFE centres, hospitals, out on the highways, or in nearby Greenough and Mullewa.

Go on an adventure and have fun looking for the art. Follow the stories, and think about map-making. An account of Bimarra the serpent and how the land was formed can be read on the interpretative signs out at Ellendale Pool and Walkaway. Likewise, the rock art of the Yamaji people of the Ngaaguja, Wilunyu, Wajarri, Nhanda, Badimia and Western Desert language groups celebrate the first-ever art galleries in this region.

In contemporary art interpretations on the foreshore, notably Ilgarijiri (things that belong to the sky), Yamaji artists show some of the many storylines of country. Further along, the layering of this history is presented by another artwork, The sea meets the shore.

On the waterfront, a kinetic sculpture moves in strong winds. Referring to Midwest climatic conditions, Zephyr II playfully calls-up a mythic resemblance to far away Mediterranean shorelines.

A nearby statue, curiously cast from local peoples’ body parts to assemble a bronze figure, commemorates the traumatic experiences of Wiebbe Hayes, the first European visitor to these shores. This Dutch soldier-sailor arrived in Western Australian waters on the tragic Batavia voyage of 1629, and survived shipwreck, mutiny, and murder.

Maps are peculiar things. This one displays artworks and an art route.

A gridded chart (based on a 1622 map of the Abrolhos Islands) is part of a Sentinel figure, which gazes out to sea while standing guard at the front of the Police Complex. The map ‘wing’ at the sculpture’s back casts a shadow on the wall of a building owned by the merchant Pat Stone from 1889, (alongside the old Railway Hotel site c1901 / Sunseeker Hotel 1971-1999).

These represent the wide range of art in the city, many of which are the result of civic initiatives like the Percent for Art schemes, or local government, business, and community projects that have contributed to our cultural narratives.

Sentinel, while remarking on the past crime scene of the Batavia, acknowledges contemporary policing duties while accumulating its own crime stories. Its head was stolen (in 2001 by a young local), lost, replaced (by a second head), and then found in the Greenough area. The first head has now been relocated on to a sculpture in Butler, a suburb of Perth.

On our art trail are many examples of mosaics, urban (street) art, trench art (made during WWII), church wall murals, civic memorials, and infrastructure art on the sidewalks, bus stops, and roundabouts.

But there is no continuous history of artwork as such. They are not naturally connected, and exist in their different situations across time.

Writing on surfaces in the street without permission, graffiti has its own cultural history and has strongly influenced modern art styles. A renewed visibility occurred alongside protest, murals, and poster art internationally.

Murals on walls, created by local teachers, students, and artists for schools since the early 1980s, are community orientated. Public Art as formal civic artwork commissions largely came about at this time.

The Geraldton city status fountain sculpture, unveiled in late 1988 by the thendirector of the Western Australian Art Gallery, Betty Churcher AO, referenced the environment: hewn rocks quarried from Moonyoonooka, and a spiral of life in the flow of water along the cast iron element that returned to a pool below. Located in the Queens Park Theatre gardens, where Queen Elizabeth II launched Geraldton as a City on 22 April of that year, it looked to a new era.

Since the 1990s initiatives across the city have enabled more art to be displayed. All of this contributes to the sociality of living in a landscape made dynamic both by history and urbanisation.

Deborah Cain

E: DLCain2014@gmail.com

Acknowledgement: Thanks go to all the artists whose work adds to the cultural topography of the city, and to the staff and community members who have helped facilitate the research: especially Heritage Services at the Geraldton Regional Library; Visual Arts at TAFE and Pollinators; and the City of Greater Geraldton Community Grants Program.

MAPS CAN BE PURCHASED FROM: Geraldton Regional Art Gallery, Geraldton Visitor Centre, Western Australian Museum – Geraldton, Old Geraldton Gaol & Craft Centre, Latitude Gallery, Baker Williamson Studios, Foreshore Backpackers, Pollinators – CityHive, Monsignor Hawes Heritage Centre, Drummond Cove Holiday Park.

W: http://www.cityartmapgeraldton.com.au

Nature studied: Trees, plants, gardens

NATURE STUDIED: Trees, plants, gardens. AN ESSAY

Project Gallery, Geraldton Regional Art Gallery, 4-25 September 2015. poster-nature-studied

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Why ‘raspberry jam tree?’ Acacia acuminata. Mungart – John Kinsella[1]

Gardening can be described as the laying out or arranging of plants using principles and techniques of cultivation that may be different to how they survive and grow in their natural environment. The Online Encyclopaedia Britannica

Gardens can be natural or landscaped, individual or collective, public or private, and they might be secret–not so secret–spaces of wonder and the acquisition of knowledge. Alice, as narrated in Through the looking glass (1871), comes across a garden where she encounters a tiger-lily with a difference, causing her to proclaim: ‘I’ve been in many gardens before, but none of the flowers could talk.’[2]

Plants and gardens feature in many forms of human expression. Artists throughout history have played a part in investigating, describing and representing nature. They have imagined and observed the great variety of flora and fauna, and the ever-changing cultural and natural habitats of the world around us. While looking at some examples of artworks of plants and trees for an exhibition, this essay is a response to the vision of the Friends of the Geraldton Gardens [FROGGS]–an organisation formed in 2015–to construct a showcase garden.

Geraldton is a coastal city in rural Western Australia, located on the edge of the Midwest Region, a unique biodiversity zone. Its environment is framed by the Murchison and Greenough Rivers, which start in the arid inland and flow seasonal waters down to the western coast. August has been designated a regional special month because of the diversity of wildflowers that appear around that time.

A relationship between local plant and art communities can be traced at least back to 1959 when the Victoria District Branch of the Tree Society of WA (Geraldton) held an art exhibition of forty paintings by Albert Namatjira.[3] It was held in Birdwood House and is listed as part of the Sunshine Festival programme for that year. The artist’s paintings of country represent landscapes of his traditional land and custodial heritage: where all things–trees, plants, water, rocks, animals, people–fit into a holistic belief system.[4] In the Sunshine Festival for 1960, it seems, the Tree Society supported a second art show, this time of work by Elizabeth Durack. A commissioned set of drawings are now held in the City of Greater Geraldton Art Collection, including for instance, Durack’s Durlacher Street (1960) with its landmark line of Norfolk Pines.

Victoria District was the name given by Lt. George Grey when he passed through the area in 1839 on his return to Perth after an exploratory trip of the Gascoyne failed, followed by the wreck of his boats off the coast at Gantheaume Bay (Kalbarri). On Grey’s overland walk back to Perth, he wrote journal observations of the surrounding area. Driving across the same floodplains that Grey traversed on the Greenough Flats, south of Geraldton and north of the town of Dongara, a sign gives cultural references to a tree of note. It cites a poem by Nola Gregory (2014), which incorporates the tree’s Wajarri name: ‘I am Wirnda Ngadara, The Leaning Tree’.

This tree is a red river gum, and its species classification is Eucalyptus camaldulensis. The City of Greater Geraldton sign alludes to how this characteristic Midwest tree is depicted in other representations by giving a text from Randolph Stow’s The merry-go-round in the sea (1965), where he reflects back a novelist’s view of the city:

‘The horizon was spiked with windmills, turning and turning, their broad tails shifting, meeting the easterly. The town was a town of wind, horizons of windmills, a sky for kites, a harbour white-petalled with sails. In his grandmother’s house the wind sang in the keyholes. On the windswept flats, crippled gumtrees washed their hair’. (Penguin 1968; 2008 edition, p. 51)

Like these distinctive trees bent by the natural forces of the wind, plants become iconic and thus transform into cultural reference points for memories. And, as shown by Stow when he presents botanical descriptions from the 1940s-60s that link the past to the present, they become formalised into today’s social narratives.

The merry-go-round analogy so effectively used in Stow’s story connects with specific trees and reminisces of crunching underfoot ‘leaves and nuts fallen from the Moreton Bay figtrees’, also is fused with playground elements on the foreshore that still exist and have become fixtures (literally) in the city’s history:

‘The merry-go-round revolved. The world turned about him. The Library, the car, the old store, the courthouse. Sunflowers. Moreton Bay figtrees, the jetty, the sea. Purple bougainvillaea against the sea’.[5]

The Moreton Bay Figs, like the Norfolk or Cook’s Pines, were transplanted into the region from the east coast and Pacific Ocean. They are evidence of generic civic plantings, which occurred all over Australia. Likewise, our own gum trees, which today can be found in California, Nepal, Lebanon, France, and so much more.

Norfolk Pines are featured in Tim Winton’s Land’s edge: A coastal memoir (2010).[6] The author spent some summers in a beach shack retreat at the Greenough River mouth. He writes about Norfolk Pines being markers (p.100) in his own experience as a surfer looking back to land, and proposes a concept of ‘land’s edge’ as a metaphor for an Australian lifestyle that is mainly a suburban experience with holiday excursions into country. Thus, our remembered pasts include invented notions of place, landscape, and country, even as we project ourselves into or outside the artistic creations of others.

In her Waranygu bayalgu: Digging for food, Dora Dann writes about fishing on the Murchison River, and remembers a ‘main dinner’ campsite near a white river gum, yarlu, (Eucalyptus victrix) at Meeberie Crossing (p. 32). On the book cover she stands amongst a field of ugudungu (everlastings). Cooking and eating bush potatoes, emu, and other foods such as the red kangaroo, marlu, are all part of her story.[7] Marlu are also central to a Wajarri creation story of the landscape, in the formation of the historic red ochre site of Thuwarri Thaa (Wilgie Mia), an important place for cultural and ritual activities.[8]

Gardening, like mining, is an activity that can be related to the region prior to the emergence of Geraldton and its history as a coastal port. The indigenous cultivation of plants such as yams (Dioscorea hastifolia) was noted by Grey in 1839, Stokes in 1840, and Gregory in 1846, for example.[9] Rupert Gerritsen quotes A. C. Gregory (1882, 1887) seeing the practice of digging yams and replanting the ‘crown in the same hole’ by the Nhanda people of the Victoria District (p.5).[10] But with the arrival of pastoralists and miners from mid-century, relations between Europeans and the Yamaji peoples of the area deteriorated.[11] This is reflected by the two sets of plaques at Bootenal Spring, where the resulting conflict is described from very different viewpoints.[12]

In a recent two-part television adaptation of Kate Grenville’s 2005 novel The secret river, we see how a ‘bloody frontier war’ unfolded in a landscape where there are now ‘no Aboriginal people left’ (Heather Winch, cited by Natasha Robinson).[13] The character Will Thornhill plants corn after clearing a field that once was covered with the yellow flowering yams of the Darug Aboriginal people, who seasonally lived there before he claimed their land. A young Kalbarri actor, Brian O’Dene, took part in the film production as the ‘Aboriginal boy, Bunda, who befriends the young children’ of the white settler, Thornhill.[14]

Geraldton was conceived as a port town from 1849 to export minerals and the agricultural produce such as wheat and now canola, and in 1857 a timber jetty was built near Gregory Street.[15] Along the city foreshore, with its different manifestations and redevelopments over time, there have been several additions of trees and shrubs. In 1900, right when the old railway station was being turned into a library (as reported in The Express, July 20), fifty Moreton Bay and assorted pines were planted. More recently a line of casuarina, or she-oak have been placed down the pathway of a newly landscaped area beside the wharf.

She-oak is the title and concept behind a Bangarra Dance Theatre’s indigenous ensemble in 2015; and, naming of all things included trees like she-oaks and banksia along with the need to perform a dance are woven into the Noongar writer, Kim Scott’s narrative for the novel, That deadman dance (2010).

Modern scientific names for plant species follow a taxonomic system established in the mid-eighteenth century by the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus. According to the French theorist Michel Foucault, this system viewed the world ‘through a grid of knowledge constituted by natural history’.[16] Littered through the history of scientific naming, however, are some notable confusions. When the explorer William Dampier visited north-west Australia in 1688, he observed a tree that yielded ‘a gum like dragon’s blood’. Quite separately, Linnaeus designated the name Draecana draco for a pandanus-like plant found in the Canary Islands which oozed red gum that was said to be like dragon’s blood. It was assumed by scholars that Dampier had observed in Australia a pandanus-like plant similar to the Canary Islands Draecano draco. But then in 1770 Joseph Banks, botanist on the Endeavour during Captain Cook’s exploration of Botany Bay, found a red gum resin that he called Sanguis draconis (‘dragon blood’) oozing from a tree which subsequently was classified as a Eucalyptus.[17] Scientists have finally concluded that Dampier’s ‘dragon tree’ probably was a bloodwood, Eucalyptus polycarpa–and thus had no relationship at all to Linnaeus’ Canary island Draecano draco.[18]

Plants in their many forms pattern our world. They can be seen represented as a design element for wallpaper, carpets, curtains, clothing, and so on. They are part of our memories, our fantasies, and can be found in our fridges, cupboards, and lunch boxes, as well as in storybooks, poems and songs, and in leisure and science books. Boab trees (baobabs) appear as rogues in Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The little prince (1931), where ‘there were on the little prince’s planet, as on every planet, good plants and bad plants’.[19] One of the wishes written by a child for a Wish Tree event in Geraldton (1 June 2015) was for ‘boab trees’. Her father explained that they had just seen the boabs in Kings Park, Perth. Boab trees (Adansonia gregorii) arrived autonomously in northwest Australia from Madagascar, whereas the poinciana, a popular choice for gardeners, also comes from Madagascar but was imported by human hands.

Likewise, the hibiscus is a plant that comes in many forms, including both local variations native to the region and introduced varieties. The latter include the Hibiscus tiliaceus (cotton wood) that has become a common sight around Geraldton, and goes by several names, including China Rose in its Asian manifestation, or Mahoe in its Hawaiian form; it is found along the Queensland coast and throughout the Pacific, where it has many uses. In her book Wajarri wisdom, Estelle Leyland lists a local Chinese Lantern as a hibiscus.[20]

To contribute to the sustainability of a city’s community and its region, it is important to look to the past as well as to the future of the natural and cultural environment. The ongoing creation of parks and gardens is crucial to this. Part of this Nature studied project is a Wish Tree. As an art installation (based on artwork by Yoko Ono), it invites you to interact by writing down your wishes. It provides you an opportunity to voice your dreams and contribute to the future. In this way, as a member of the public, you can become involved with thinking about the planting and planning of garden spaces.

The first botanic garden Wish Tree was planted in Maitland Park (21 March 2015) by the Council, and acknowledges the history and importance of existing green belts. As an event that occurred on Harmony Day, it enacted the recognition of all the peoples living in Geraldton and all their diverse ideas of horticulture. It is inclusive of, for instance, the mallee, quandong, sandalwood, and eucalypts; of Moreton Bay Figs, olive trees (considered a weed due to its colonising tendency), hibiscus tiliaceus, New Zealand / Aotearoa pohutukawa (metrosideros excels), and its smaller Kermadec Islands’ relative; and of roses, tomatoes, cucumbers, and so many more plants representative of the great assortment now grown in the city and wider farming / market garden areas.

Plants, like people, travel to-and-fro and impact where ever they go. The planting of some trees has had major dominating influences on the region in terms of culture and economics, but also as forms of ecological colonisation. Meantime, the unique biodiversity of the Midwest region needs urgent recognition and protection. This is the focus of the FROGGS’ project. Its aim is to encapsulate discussion about both indigenous and introduced vegetation and gardening practices, so that memory, harmony, and commemoration, along with scientific and economic dimensions of plants, can all be appreciated. This may not be realised in an overtly conscious way by an exhibition or the installation of a Wish Tree, but it might be subliminally put into practice by these art events, in the performative act of personally writing a message.

Tree and garden initiatives in Geraldton, like the Million Tree project, have links to the future: sustainable environments, the effects of climate change, and the socio-economic wellbeing of our wider community. Reinforcing open dialogue and the exchange of ideas about gardening can be a holistic way of absorbing and acknowledging cultural diversity in the Greater City of Geraldton, in its public spaces, and in our individual homes and gardens. At the same time, it hopefully will encourage increased respect for native plants and their environments.

Dr Deborah Cain, 15 August 2015

All rights reserved nature-studied-2015

The exhibition catalogue is copyright. The material contained within cannot be copied without the permission of the author, artists, or the Geraldton Regional Art Gallery. The opinions expressed in this essay as written are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Geraldton Regional Gallery. Deborah Cain is an independent writer and researcher. She has a doctorate in art history from The University of Auckland, New Zealand, and has published on a wide range of cultural topics, including in Third Text, Sites, Reading Room, and other journals and artists’ catalogues.

Acknowledgements: I would like to express a special thank you to the staff at the Geraldton Regional Art Gallery staff for their support of the project. Thank you to all the artists who have given permission for their work to be included in the exhibition.

And for bringing their art work in from the upper reaches of the Murchison, Mount Magnet, thank you to Brendan Penzer, and the Wirnda Barna Artists for their contribution.

This essay would not have emerged without the friendly and professional assistance of all the staff at the Geraldton Regional Library. In particular those in Heritage Services: Trudi Cornish, Lee-Ann Neill, and Tracy Fraser.

[1] John Kinsella, (2015, March), Native cut wood deflects colonial hunger. Poetry. Retrieved 2015, August 15 from http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poem/250076

[2] Lewis Carroll, (2007), Alice’s adventures in wonderland and Through the looking-glass, (1865, 1871). London: Vintage Books, Random House, p. 187.

[3] A. C. Burns, (1984), Victoria District Branch of the Tree Society, Geraldton Library Accession No. G44, p.2.

[4] See Deborah Bird Rose, (1996), Nourishing terrains: Australian Aboriginal views of landscape and wilderness. Canberra, ACT: Australian Heritage Commission. Retrieved 2015, August 15 from http://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/62db1069-b7ec-4d63-b9a9-991f4b931a60/files/nourishing-terrains.pdf (p.14, 23).

[5] Randolph Stow, (2008), The merry-go-round in the sea, (1965). Camberwell, Vic., Australia: Penguin Books, p.7.

[6] Tim Winton, (2010), Land’s edge: A coastal memoir, (1993). Camberwell, Vic., Australia: Hamish Hamilton.

[7] Dora Dann, (2003), Waranygu bayalgu: Digging for food. Geraldton, WA.: Yamaji Language Centre.

[8] Mary Callaghan, (2012), Mining in the Mid West: Mid West heritage series. Geraldton, WA.: Geraldton Regional Library, p.1.

[9] Stan Gratte, (2005), Bootenal Spring history. Geraldton, W.A.: S. Gratte for Shire of Greenough, p.7

[10] Rupert Gerritsen, Factors Influencing the Adoption of Indigenous Agriculture in Australia. Retrieved 2015, February 16 from http://rupertgerritsen.tripod.com/pdf/unpublished/up4.pdf

[11] Stan Gratte, (2014), Geraldton’s story. Geraldton, WA.: Geraldton Regional Library, p.1.

[12] See a discussion of the plaques at Bootenal by Jennifer Harris, (2010), Memorials and trauma: Pinjarra, 1834. In Trauma, media, art: New perspectives, ed. Mick Broderick and Antonio Traverso, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp.36-57.

[13] Natasha Robinson, (2015, June 13-14), Historic river inn still not about to give up its secret Aboriginal history. The Australian, p.9.

[14] Local boy stars in ABC mini series, (2015, June/July). Bundiyarra Gardantha, Edition 12, p. 17.

[15] Stan Gratte, (2014), Geraldton’s story. Geraldton, WA.: Geraldton Regional Library, p.6.

[16] Michel Foucault, (1970; 1997), The order of things: An archaeology of the human sciences. London: Routledge, pp. 127-128.

[17] Alex S. George, (1999), William Dampier in New Holland: Australia’s first natural historian. Hawthorn VIC: Bloomings Books, p.6.

[18] Ashley Hay, (2002), Gum. Potts Point NSW, Australia: Duffy & Snellgrove, pp. 14-15.

[19] Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, (1995) The little prince, (1931). London: Penguin Books, p. 20.

[20] Estelle Leyland, (2002). Wajarri wisdom: Food and medicinal plants of the Mullewa/Murchison district of Western Australia used by Wajarri people. Geraldton, W.A.: Yamaji Language Centre. P. 93.

LIST OF ART WORKS IN THE EXHIBITION:

Julian Rossi Ashton (1886) Baobab tree in the Kimberley District. Hand coloured engraving, from the Picturesque Atlas of Australasian, Picturesque Atlas Publishing Co Limited, Sydney and Melbourne.

Norman Lindsay (n.d.) The wreath. Ink.

Henri B. Van Raalte (n.d.) Evening symphony. Aquatint.

Elizabeth Durack (1960) Durlacher Street. Felt pen & Gouache on Paper.

Elizabeth Durack (1960) Tomato growers. Near Northampton. Pastel on Paper.

Elizabeth Durack (1960) Greenough Hills. Felt pen & Gouache on Paper.

Mark Miragliotta (2015) Okade. Screen print (one panel).

Elisa Markes-Young (2015) The original place #13 Textile/mixed media.

Helen Clarke (2012) Bush hibiscus. Reduction lino print. 35cm x 49cm.

Renata Buziak (2015) Ipomea pes-caprae / carpobrotus glaucescens. Time Lapse Video. Single Chanel. 16.23 mins. Soundscape by Vanessa Tomlinson, Music at Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University.

Renata Buziak (2015) Ipomoea pes-caprae… astringent… Archival pigment on paper.

Renata Buziak (2015) Centella asiatica… anti-inflammatory… Archival pigment on paper.

Margaret Danischewsky (2015) Bush walking. Acrylic & sand on canvas.

Margaret Simpson (2015) Gulyu (wild sweet potatoes). Acrylic on canvas.

Elizabeth Annie Walsh (2015) Going out bush at Yoweragabbie. Acrylic on canvas.

Frank Walsh Jnr (2015) Colours of the desert. Acrylic on canvas.

Margaret Simpson (2015) Balaweary Hill. Acrylic on canvas.

Frank Walsh Jnr (2015) Winter bush camps. Acrylic on canvas.

Gemma Baker (2015) Everlasting wildflower pendant. Australian Yellow Sapphire, Titanium, 9 Carat Rose Gold, Abrolhos Island Pelsaerts ‘Pateria Penguin’ Mother of Pearl.

Kado Muir (2015) Roos (marlu). Ceramic. Walkatjurra Cultural Centre (4 pieces).

Jo Bunker (2015) Everlasting cluster. Hand crochet, mixed yarns (14 flowers).

LINKS: FROGGS Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/froggsinc/

Renata Buziak. W: http://renata-buziak.com/news/105/67/Nature-studied-Trees-plants-gardens

WISH TREE AT THE GALLERY: Record of written comments or ‘wishes’ – ongoing

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Date: 4 – 25 September 201

Nature studied: Trees, plants, gardens. Trees used were: Eucalyptus caesia, Silver Princess (1st week). Eucalyptus leucoxylon, Rosea

Photos: Eucalyptus victrix, Murchison Coolibah, Jilgu

157. I wish … das alle zu Hause bei bester Gesundheit sind das ich heile Heim Komme nach Hamburg / Buxtehude! [Internet translation: I wish … that all of them are at home in perfect health that I heal come home [to] Hamburg / Buxlehude !]

158. I wish that people could stop putting $$ before everything else

159. For World Peace

160. I wish for all young people to have the opportunity to enjoy art, the gallery and the natural art all around us. Let your eyes absorb it all and cherish the memories 1

61. The young are so inspirational. Great works

162. I wish I was famous and went on stage

163. I wish all the kids in the hospitals get better one day

164. I wish for a ‘Nature’ playground where my grandkids can play & enjoy

165. Wish there were more greens!

166. Moresby Rangers Nation Parks [ranges?]

167. I wish the trees, plants & flowers of Geraldton a long & happy future

168. Love life

169. I wish for community garden that teach us about healthful eating

170. Colour, light, air + hope !! xxxx

171. I wish my secret to stay secret and 1 day it might became

172. I wish for a bright and colourful garden invoking peace and happiness into the hearts of visitors

173. I wish all I know is happy n well

174. I wish that everyone is brave enough to live their dream

175. I wish for gardens to delight and unite old & young using all senses

176. Growth, Knowledge & Compassion

177. I wish we could replace weeds with native plants

178. I wish …. ☺

179. I wish for a tyre swing

180. I wish for flowers, leaves and swings

181. I wish that your still here for my future grandchildren. Well done.

182. I wish for neighbourliness instead of high fences & isolation

183. Allow the concept of community gardens to happen

184. I wish for slides, climbing net and a merry-go-round

185. I wish all the kids in hospitals get better one day!

186. I wish there was a Botanical Garden here

187. I wish for streets with orange and lemon trees and every plant should be edible or useful

188. I wish for big beautiful trees & lots of native species. A place of reflection & peace & fun for kids

189. I wish for a natural playground for all the kids to play on

190. I wish for vegetable patches and produce [that] can be sold at the local market and proceeds go to those less fortunate

191. Wish my family & friends always healthy, safety, and happy everyday ☺ [Bilingual: Traditional Chinese (Taiwan) text on the other side] 希 望 Pual 的 ⾝身 體 健 康 ⾝身 邊 ⼩小 ⼈人 退 散 !! 還 有 我 們 的 泰 國 之 旅 ⼀一 切 順 利 開 ⼼心 ❤ xī wàng Pual dì shēn tǐ jiàn kāng shēn bian xiǎo rén tuì sǎn !! huán yǒu wǒ men de tài guó zhī lǚ yī qiè shùn lì kāi xīn ❤

192. I wish we could bring the bush into Town by using locally Indigenous species in our parks & gardening

193. I wish for community gardens on unused verge areas. Works Elsewhere! “Vegetable verges”

194. I wish all kids stay healthy

195. I wish to walk in a public garden close to Geraldton CBD, which features the flora of this district. … Canberra ACT

196. I wish for strong, healthy plants & roots that break concrete

197. I wish the Council would stop planting poisonous introduced weeds as our Welcome to Town!!

198. I wish for a community vegetable garden. Lily

199. I wish for a white only garden

200. I wish you could eradicate invasive sunflowers in Drummonds Cove

201. Wish my family and friends will be happy and healthy the world is wonderful. Wish Weī Weī baby [Bilingual: Chinese text on the other side, in classic characters – Taiwan] 天天 開 ⼼心 平 安 ⾧長 ⼤大 彰 鴻 賺 ⼤大 錢 。 tiāntiān kāi xīn píng ān cháng dà zhāng hóng zuàn dà qián.

202. I wish for a city of Australian Native Species! Good Luck FROGGS

Walga Rock Looks Back

Looking back from the well-known “Unknown Great South Land”:

Talking about ships and books in full view of evidence of people having looked back from the shore: Rosemary Hayes and Mike Lefroy, (2016, Oct 13), spoke of “Discovery, wrecks & mutiny”, for a public talk at the Geraldton Regional Library, Western Australia. Their presentation took place during the week of 9-to-16 October 2016 when the Duyfken replica was in Geraldton on its journey north. The “little dove” set sail again on the 16 October for Denham on route to Shark Bay and Hartog Island.

See: The Duyfken 1606 Replica Foundation & Duyfken 2016 Dirk Hartog Commemorative Voyage: http://www.duyfken.com/voyages/2016-Hartog-400th-Anniversary-Voyage/2016_Hartog_400th_Anniversary_Voyage “Dutchman Dirk Hartog and his crew became the first Europeans to walk on Western Australian soil when they landed on an island just north of Shark Bay in 1616. …”

The cover of Rosemary Hayes’ The blue-eyed aborigine (2010, 2016) has a version of the historic image of a ship drawn or inscribed on Walga Rock. Travel east from Geraldton for several hours to Mount Magnet and the actual drawing can be seen on a cave wall west of Cue, in remote WA. The book for young readers by Hayes is a fiction. It is based on the imagined circumstances of real events surrounding two young men who were set adrift on the coast of Western Australia. This was after their involvement in a mutiny on the Abrolhos islands, where the East India Company ship the Batavia was shipwrecked in 1629. W: http://rosemaryhayes.co.uk/blue.htm

When I asked the author about the image of the ship on the book cover, she said it was the designer’s choice. And of course it is not an image of a Dutch ship. The library’s poster publicising the talks by the visiting authors was in response to the book’s cover image, with an actual photograph of the Walga rock art site (taken by one of the staff) because of the specific regional connection to this local place of significance.

Similar to a symposium talk in Perth on colonial art, for the Unknown Land exhibition at the Art Gallery of Western Australia, the curious question of the terminology of “discovery” and the “unknown” comes to mind. The organisers at the AGWA did acknowledge that the artist Christopher Pease had already challenged the title. And notably, Pease spoke at the event on “European representation and First Nation experience”, while his artwork Target (2005), is now on the cover of a book edited by Jaynie Anderson et al., (2016), The legacies of Bernard Smith: Essays on Australian art, history and cultural politics.

But the image of the rock drawing of a ship used for Hayes’ book and as seen on the poster in the Geraldton library, demonstrates perhaps paradoxically in this instance that in these two-way experiences, the people of the land had looked back at the European visitors seeing this “unknown” country. The lands represented were already occupied and the people living there recorded their encounter with these foreign ship-people by illustrating the vessel.

The European experience of seeing Australia for the “first” time was a discovery from their offshore point of view, and representing the land as the great southern unknown is part of that history. But at the same time the people living here knew the land already. It was not “unknown” to the first people. It was their Known Land.

Footnotes:

To be reminded of this by now often-repeated qualification might be a moot point. Although, if you would like to see more about the drawing site, go to the video of the traditional Aboriginal guardians and listen to the people speaking about their place today. W: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-15/creating-tourism-and-jobs-at-walga-rock/7848162 Christopher Lewis, (2016, Sept 15). WA’s largest Aboriginal rock art gallery hopes to attract tourists, create jobs. The Australian ABC News.

Unknown Land. Exhibition. Art Gallery of Western Australia. W: http://www.artgallery.wa.gov.au/exhibitions/unknown-land.asp

Colonisation & wilderness: Nineteenth-century American and Australian landscape painting. Symposium, 27 to 28 September 2016, collaboration between the Art Gallery of Western Australia and the University of Western Australia and the Terra Foundation of American Art in support.

Currently there is also a touring social history exhibition, Descendants of the VOC, Presented by Make Smoking History, A photographic essay by Geert Snoeijer and Nonja Peters, Western Australian Museum W: http://museum.wa.gov.au/museums/geraldton/descendants-voc

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Leyland P76 cars colour square

CAR PATTERN – Project 76

Manufactured 1973-1974 in Australia and New Zealand – Leyland P76 cars as seen in Edith Cowan Square, opposite the Geraldton Courthouse on Marine Terrace, Geraldton, where I met Riley & Lyn Bradley who had restored their 1973 Leyland P76 between 2001 and 2002. The touring group belong to the Leyland P76 Owners’ Club of Western Australia. F: http: www.facebook.com/LeylandP76

Era of [1973] Bob Dylan – Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid soundtrack, David Bowie – Space Oddity, Pink Floyd – Money, Paul Simon – Kodachrome, Stevie Wonder – Higher Ground, Wings – Live and let die, Skylark – Wildflower, Stevie Wonder – You are the Sunshine of my Life, Carly Simon – You’re so vain, Marvin Gaye – Let’s get it on, Roberta Flack – Killing me softly with his song. [1974] Paul McCartney – Band on the run, Eric Clapton – I shot the sheriff, Carl Douglas – Kung Fu fighting, Bob Dylan – On a night like this, Planet Waves.

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LINKS

Edith Cowan (1861-1932 Born in Glengarry near Geraldton died in Perth)

W: http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/cowan-edith-dircksey-5791

Geraldton Courthouse

W: http://www.courts.dotag.wa.gov.au/G/geraldton_courthouse.aspx?uid=8335-5587-9072-3159

Leyland Cars – Australian Car Industry:

Wikipedia: Automotive industry in Australia

W: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automotive_industry_in_Australia

FORD Australia ceases production

W: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-07/timeline-ford-australia-ceases-production/7911742

W: http://www.industry.gov.au/industry/industrysectors/automotive/Pages/default.aspx

LAST AUSTRALIAN-MADE CAR

W: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/oct/07/tears-and-bittersweet-memories-as-ford-shuts-the-doors-on-its-australian-factories

IMPACT OF END OF AUSTRALIAN CAR MANUFACTURE INDUSTRY – Samoa

W: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/12/australian-car-industrys-demise-kills-off-samoas-biggest-private-employer

British Leyland [1968 merger]

W: https://www.britannica.com/topic/British-Leyland-Motor-Corporation-Ltd

BMC-Leyland Australia / Leyland Australia

W: http://www.bmclaheritage.org.au/Company.html

New Zealand Leyland

W: http://photonews.org.nz/nelson/issue/NPN67_19660528/t1-body-d24.html

New Zealand – Nelson Motor Vehicle Assembly Plant

W: http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/lifestyle-entertainment/weekend/1761465/Building-a-car-community

City Art Map Geraldton

City Art Map Geraldton introduction:

The map was launched at the Geraldton Regional Art Gallery on Friday 2 September, with an art performance of a Living Statue (by Lizzy Robinson) prior to the opening of a local exhibition, Cloud Chasing.

On the 3 September there was another performance of the Living Statue with an opportunity for local artists to sketch-on-the-foreshore, and included an art walk for a group to go on a tour of some of the work listed on the map.

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City Art Map Geraldton: This is a community project that involved the creation of an art map for the city. It focuses on existing civic art in public spaces, and offers summary details of the arts related sector in Geraldton. It has 30-featured works for a walk in the central downtown area, but lists 65 artworks in total as representative of the city’s cultural creativity since the 1930s and earlier, for you to discover or re-discover.

The map project brings together a sample of the city’s dynamic arts & culture featured in an easily accessible format for local residents, tourists, and other visitors.

It delivers information to make public art works, street art, art institutions and local artists’ studios easily accessible. The art map was researched, collated, and designed locally with considerable contributions from many people within the community.

CAMG Community Project Coordinator: Deborah Cain

The City Art Map Geraldton was supported by City of Greater Geraldton Community Grant Funding, Pollinators Inc, and sponsors St John of God Geraldton Hospital, Stirlings Central, The Geraldton Regional Art Gallery, 
Culinery HQ,
 Quiet Life, and
 Rev Design

Purchase from point-of-sales locations:

Geraldton Regional Art Gallery, Geraldton Visitor Centre, Western Australian Museum – Geraldton, Old Geraldton Gaol & Craft Centre, Latitude Gallery, Baker Williamson Studios, Foreshore Backpackers, Pollinators – CityHive, Monsignor Hawes Heritage Centre, Drummond Cove Holiday Park.

Living Statue by the sea & at the GRAG launch (Lizzy Robinson): Photo by Deborah Cain

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CAMG launch at the Geraldton Regional Art Gallery 2.9.16: Photo by Erika Monique

Map link: http://www.cityartmapgeraldton.com.au

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ArtDrive Geraldton

‘ArtDrive’: The City of Greater Geraldton has just opened up a proposal for a new arts project (27 April – 6 June entry dates). This is the link from the city website http://www.cgg.wa.gov.au/play/what-s-on/artdrive.aspx

It is a project to create a drive by rural art tour.

The route will include the Brand Highway through Greenough, Walkaway, Ellendale, and Mullewa. Prizes are on offer for six of the artworks that have entered the event, valued at $5,000…

Some sites to view for major artworks in urban cityscapes or more rural environments (these sculptures or painted walls would generally cost much more than a $1000 to make):

Shanghai 2010 “Created by Chinese Peasants”, exhibition curated by the artist Cai Guo-Qiang. Website: http://www.rockbundartmuseum.org/en/exhibition/overview/5d0fwz

American Roads and Global Highways. Delmarva Public Art Trail
Web: http://www.americanroads.net/art-trails.htm

Joshua Tree Outdoor Museum, CA, USA. Noah Purifoy,
Web: http://www.noahpurifoy.com/joshua-tree-outdoor-museum/

Recent FORM Public 2016 artists examples:
Millo, urban artist from Italy left Perth after participating in FORM in WA, and went on to China: The Pudong Shanghai mural shows a boy lying between a number of buildings, which Millo says is inspired by the contrast between the modern contemporary city and the human being. ‘We live in a world of concrete but inside we are kind of soft,’ says the artist. Retrieved 2016 April 25 from http://www.timeoutshanghai.com/features/Blog-Art/35231/Find-street-artist-Julien-Seth-Mallands-paintings-in-Shanghai.html

And: HENSE (USA) Alex Brewer was in Western Australia for PUBLIC 2015 and 2016. See examples of artwork from Form PUBLIC 2016 at this web link: http://www.jessisjam.com/blog/publiccampus2016

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Richard Long installation, 2010, Shanghai

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Abrolhos art
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Zhang Qiang, Nuan Yangyang (warm goat), radiator/copper/acrylic colouring

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Artwork outside the Power Station of Art, Shanghai