Commissioned artworks for Exhibition 18 Oct- 18 Dec 2018
Hume Global Learning Centre and Library, Gee Lee Wik Gallery Craigieburn.
“We seem to understand the value of oil, timber, minerals and housing, but not the value of unspoiled beauty, wildlife, solitude, and spiritual renewal”. Bill Watterson
This project aims to examine the built and natural environments as sites for investigation and documentation within the City of Hume, exploring new residential housing, commercial and suburb developments as they form and encroach into native grasslands and woodlands, creating intermediary zones where sections of the landscape are in a state of flux.
Blocks and corridors of land wait discreetly behind fenced veneers of colour-bond presenting a clean aesthetic of new and modern housing development to all who drive by. These are spaces in progress, transitional zones that are temporarily forgotten until developed. Many are repositories of excess soil, building detritus, rubbish left to be cleaned up at a later date. Perhaps these interspaces conceal the real wealth of the suburb, within the depths of the soil.
Housing affordability and the dream of home ownership creates a single repetitive formula, ‘single house + garden plot’ as a popular and dominant model for new housing developments in Australia and around the world. The City of Hume is no exception with many recent immigrants arriving in Australia seeking a better life with home and land ownership a part of that equation.
The creation of new suburbs and housing developments demands valuable resources in the form of building materials, new infrastructure and services, carving up farming land and grasslands with native bush into economical plots.
Historically, bush and grasslands are commonly valued from a western perspective of ownership and maintenance with little spiritual recognition to the Indigenous owners and custodians of this land. An acknowledgment of Indigenous perspectives and cultural reciprocity is crucial to understanding the landscape as a lived experience rather than as an abstract notion. Acknowledgement and action is required to right the wrongs of the past.
Recipients of Australian citizenship ceremonies often receive an Australian native plant as a symbol of establishing new roots in their adopted country. As cities around the world become more homogenous it the distinct flora and fauna that provides experiential difference.
TREE PROJECT embodies a practice of fieldwork; collecting data and immersive techniques of ‘being in a place’ and observing a site. The role of the physical and human geographer is to question and record our environments, to notice how climatic forces have shaped the lands and how this impacts on our present and future ecological habitation.
Adapting to a changing climate puts stress on environments. Trees are particularly vulnerable as they are unable to draw up roots to relocate to more favourable conditions. This exhibition is the result of observing within the City of Hume, presenting both ordinary and poetic perspectives.