Fire History, 2021
Compressed charcoal on Arches
97.5 x 80 cm
Australia has a history of disturbance, whether it’s colonisation, land clearing, invasive species, floods or fire. The recovery of the bush after fire can be beautiful. In Kinglake, after a massive deluge of rain, it was exciting to see water just pouring out of the mountain – like a paradise re-discovered. The scars of the fire are still apparent up there ten years later, but so is the vitality of new growth.
Fire has always been part of this landscape, but the increasing frequency and severity of fire suggests a full recovery is less likely in the future. Our memories are shorter than the timeline of a forest; a couple of wet years helps us ignore the underlying structural declines happening within our ecosystems.
My childhood was spent either on a bush block in the Kinglake Ranges just north of Melbourne, or back in the city on the south side. The competing pressures between humans and the environment are of great concern to me. An art practice enables me to participate productively in these critical conversations. My recent drawings are an investigation of fire in the landscape. Currently, I am collaborating on series of reimagined fire maps.