MUNGO SERIES 1980 – 1987
“Following a visit to the archaeological site at Lake Mungo I worked in my studio creating artworks that contained a fragment of information, created a mood, captured a memory, posed a question or communicated a personal response to country.”
This series of work evolved following a strangely memorable visit to Lake Mungo in the early 1980s.
On my first visit I intuitively knew I must make this place the subject of my next work. It was a moving experience to be part of this quiet, still landscape, and I wanted to share all aspects of its archaeological importance and beauty with as wide an audience as possible and to create an awareness of its historical significance.
I returned to Lake Mungo many times, drawn by its haunting isolation, its fragile crescent-shaped dune and its links with ancient Aboriginal culture. Many complex issues relating to land, its traditional owners and European settlement were raised by Lake Mungoʼs history.
As is my usual practice, I worked in my studio creating art works that contained a fragment of information, created a mood, captured a memory, posed a question or communicated a very personal response to the country.
I began by exploring, photographing and collecting anything that could be included in some future work. I collected things such as scraps of iron, broken china, bleached bones, wood, seedpods and sand. Each fragment evoked a memory.
Then I supplemented the collection with a work diary of impressions, ideas, research on the area, including its flora and fauna, Aboriginal history and culture and the impact of European exploration and occupation.
Finally, in my studio, I brought all the facets of the work together. Each assemblage became a ʻmemory boxʼ – a complex statement or narrative about a particular, compelling and unique Australian region.