Women In Photography - Lay of the Land : Dafna Talmor, Kapwani Kiwanga, Tamara Dean, Meghann Riepenhoff, Brooke Holm, Virginia Woods-Jack, Odette England, Katie Breckon, Siobhan McDonald, Katrin Koenning, Peta Clancy and Rhiannon Adam.
The absence of bodies in Dean’s depiction of the Messmate Stringybark (Eucalyptus obliqua) seems by comparison to impart the greatest sense of being at one with nature and connected to place. The photograph was taken in the Mount Lofty Ranges, where the stringybark forests mark the northernmost boundary of Kaurna yerta (land).
The shadows of the stringybark trees frame the stars and clouds in an evening sky reflected in a pool of water viewed from above. Meanwhile, splayed and grasping hands emerge from below the water’s surface and echo both the asymmetric leaves of the stringybark and the elliptical form of the Milky Way.
In Kaurna the Milky Way is known as Wardlipari, or ‘hut river’, and refers to the stars as the campfires of the ancestors of the sky world. As in Dean’s image, the ancestral stories of the Wardlipari link the sky, earth and waterways. The breadth of humanity’s dependence on the environment is made explicit.
Alice Clanachan Assistant Curator of Prints, Drawings & Photographs, Art Gallery of South Australia.
Elle Freak Associate Curator of Australian Paintings, Sculpture and Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art, Art Gallery of South Australia.
You can unsubscribe or change your preferences at any time by clicking the link in our emails.