Introductory Essay - Bruce Pascoe
These artworks are important because the earth is important. She is our mother.
I hope you don’t think that is a truism or platitude and certainly not a motherhood statement.
In the world today we are so ready to condemn anything that contains sentiment or feeling, ruthless when it comes to considering layers above or beneath the concrete. But the world is on its knees. We hear that 30% of Australia’s reef fish disappeared in the last ten years and we barely murmur.
These images and objects are not to be glanced at, one more demand on our crowded attention, they are to be looked at, considered, absorbed.
They are of country, our shared country. We share this country now. All of us. It is too late to pretend that the past theft of land can be completely reversed, we are all in it together now. If there are problems they are our problems if there are solutions they will come from us. We can’t wait for Canberra. August 2018 should have told us where that energy and excitement is concentrated.
Care for the mother is up to us and these artists care. Consider their visions carefully because they can be trusted, for they are talking about their mother, their home.
We have been wanting to talk with you for a very long time. We wanted to invite you into the country not for you to trample us and treat the land as roughly as it has been treated. We wanted to tell you the story of the land, the land where you now eat and sleep, we wanted you to know her lores and learn how to respect her, look after her welfare, ensure that there is a beach and grass and clean water for your grandchildren as we ensured that for one hundred and twenty thousand years.
We live in an age where a great deal is possible. So much has gone wrong, so many lives crushed, so much land wasted, poisoned, despoiled, but can you hear a different drum?
Let us use this momentum of communication and let us begin with this exhibition, let us consider these stories about your homeland. Whoever you are.