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Disappearing 2021

A group of Tasmanian artists and writers were invited to join curators Carol Bett, Gerard Castles and Pete Hay to explore the idea of what it means to be Tasmanian, our island and who we are and might be as islanders at this moment in our unfolding story.

I collaborated with Greg Lehman on this project. We discussed the concept of disappearing from many different perspectives, but with a focus on the beauty as well as the destruction of the Tasmanian landscape, and the work of Lithuanian photographer Olegas Truchanas, and Latvian photographer Peter Dombrovskis. As my heritage is Latvian, this offered a poignant link between Tasmania and Eastern Europe. As a Tasmanian Aboriginal (Palawa) person, Greg sought to commemorate the colonial attempt to remove his ancestors from the island and to acknowledge the resilience and survival of Palawa culture. It was the everchanging nature and beauty of the land that we felt offered a great sense of hope and connection for everyone who lives in Tasmania.

Brigita Ozolins, Not Lost,  2021

In particular, I was inspired by the words of Olegas Truchanas, who said:

This vanishing world is beautiful beyond our dreams.

(in Max Angus, The World of Olegas Truchanas, Hobart, Olegas Truchanas Publication Commmittee, 1975)

This quote became the starting point for my digital images and video. I adapted the words and combined them with images of the Tasmanian landscape by William Charles Piguenit.

 

Greg selected images by Colonial artists William Buelow Gould, Thomas George Gregson and Skinner Prout which, unlike those by Piguenit, include Aboriginal figures. These were combined with text adapted from the 1846 petition to Queen Victoria by Aboriginal people who had been exiled from their country to Wybalenna:

 

After defending ourselves... we have not lost from our minds...

(Attwood, Bain and Markus, Andrew, The Struggle for Aboriginal Rights: a documentary history, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1999, pp38-39).

He also took an ‘assemblage’ approach to his very moving poem, titled Not Lost, which features his original text drawing on Dante and T. S. Eliot, the words of Aboriginal people being held at Wybalenna, as well as the words of Truchanas. 

The video work merges images and text from both This World and Not Lost.

Details

Bett Gallery

Disappearing 

1/65 Murray Street Hobart, Tasmania

12 -31 March 2021

An exhibition curated by Carol Bett, Pete Hay and Gerard Castles

 

Video

Not Lost

4 min 30 sec loop

Production music courtesy of www.epidemicsound.com

Images

Not lost

digital print on Canson Rag Photographic 310
70 x 100 cm (paper size)

This World

digital print on Canson Rag Photographic 310
70 x 100 cm (paper size)

Artists:

Heather Rose and  Michaye Boulter

Simon Bevilacqua and Tim Burns

Rachel Leary and  Helen Wright

Greg Lehman and Brigita Ozolins

James Dryburgh and Richard Wastell

Ben Walter and Tom O’Hern                                  

Danielle Wood and David Keeling

Justin Kurzel and Rob Connor

Katherine Johnson and Amanda Davies

Leigh Woolley and Neil Haddon

Carol Patterson Amber Korolu Stephenson

Jenny Weber and Matt Coyle

Links