‘Welcome to country’ superimposes documents of early white settlement over preserved natural landscapes, and incorporates iconic symbols of nature and spirituality with vintage book pages representing a range of responses to Australian settlement.
Idyll – Royal National Park, 2006
Digital photomedia, 40cm x 40 cm ea (image size)
It is a long-held tradition that visitors to places of natural beauty seek the ‘idyllic’ – an ideal location of perfect repose and contemplation, where one communes with the environment in a situation of isolation and detachment from busy, mundane life. It is a tradition that has been transplanted from our European heritage to an antipodean setting, and, in our area, is evident in a multitude of archival images of the Royal National Park from Wattamolla, the Hacking River, and locations around the villages of Bundeena and Maianbar.
I propose that seeking the idyllic equates to the search for a spiritual relationship to land, and that in the absence of a long-rooted cultural relationship with place, and in the presence of a culture whose edifices and lifestyles serve generally to alienate its residents from the ‘natural’ in their environment, we experience an intrinsic and chronic hunger for the kind of archetypal and meaningful experience of nature and place that we see expressed by indigenous cultures.