Congratulations to Hayden Fowler, whose major installation work Australia was recently acquired by the National Gallery of Australia for their permanent collection.
Australia explores the continents’ colonial history as an invasive capitalist endeavour. The settled harbours, navigated rivers and overland stock routes were calculated to maximise the exploitation of the landscape and draw out is resources to the European shipping routes.
The inherent value and rights of existing peoples, culture, landscape and ecologies were at very best, discounted.
Today the landscape stands depleted while this model of exploitation continues. A scarred continent resonating with absence, but also with menace and resilience.
In the work an intricate, circular table holds up the piled bones of Australia’s past. This colonial- styled relic appears too as sun-bleached bone, suggesting the fated dependency of a malignancy on its host. However, the insistent ringing of cicadas portends a timeless resistance and a claiming back, an idea that the spirit of the continent will one day thrive again.
This work was originally commissioned by the New Landscapes Institute for the The Long Paddock exhibition in 2017.