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Fowlers Gap Artist Residency, Outback Australia

This installation was inspired by a field trip to Fowlers Gap, Broken Hill, NSW, Australia, 2012. It explores concepts of loss and displacement, drawing inspiration from the Outback environment and reflecting on the effect of European settlement on Aboriginal culture and society. Helen drew on observations of the landscape and environment and on found objects; remnants of the site’s pastoral heritage.

The use of natural materials, alongside the detritus of Fowler’s Gap’s more recent pastoral past evokes a strong sense of place and time, and reflects the attachment that people, indigenous and non-indigenous, feel for such a special place. The rapid and forceful encroachment of pastoralists and prospectors on Aboriginal communities, the destruction of culture and environment, and the resultant spoiling, loss and scattering, were explored through this work.

The exhibited pieces are displayed as discarded and used; they are finished-with, spoiled. The use of rust indicates decay and waste. The objects Helen uses are obsolete, remnant; they hark back to a past that is fading. Marks on the cloth make more direct, representative references; making abstract depictions of Aboriginal settlements and to the land as it was.

Cloth is printed using the rust printing technique. Materials used are a combination of found objects, iron plates and mordants.

A Memory of Loss. Rust, Cloth, objects. 1.5m x 1.5m.
Fowlers Gap Artist Residency, Broken Hill, Outback Australia, 2012