20 Mar 2022
(left) Juukan, 2020
140 x 135 cm
oil, ochre and beeswax on canvas
This artwork was made in response to the blasting of Juukan Gorge by a multinational mining company in 2020 – an abhorrent and preventable act. To the Puntu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura peoples, I acknowledge your immeasurable loss - a continually utilised sacred site for over 46,000 years – now gone.
Juukan was recently sold. I am very moved and grateful to the new owner for taking the time to contact me (email excerpt below)
... your painting is incredibly moving - not just the stormy colours and the landscape but of course that awful, incomprehensible destruction of the cave.
I actually took some time to think on whether I should have such a strong reminder in my life - or find something more 'happy' if you know what I mean. I work in the homelessness sector and see first-hand every day the way homelessness disproportionately affects Aboriginal people, and in my spare time, I have been working hard with some incredible families, advocates and pro bono legal teams to establish a coronial inquest on the spate of deaths on Perth's streets of young Aboriginal homeless women over winter. I've also spent a lot of the last decade trying to stop the further industrialization of Burrup/Murujuga.
But... my heart felt comforted and sorrowful and in awe all at once when I saw your work - and I just couldn't get it out of my head.