What was a banksia before it was a banksia?

Susan Gourley
EXHIBITION  RUNS
   
July
   
18
 -  
July
   
29
What was a banksia before it was a banksia? challenges colonial naming practices which deliberately refuses to acknowledge prior names, therefore denying Aboriginal peoples’ occupation on their own lands.

INFORMATION

What was a banksia before it was a banksia? challenges colonial naming practices which deliberately refuses to acknowledge prior names, therefore denying Aboriginal peoples’ occupation on their own lands. The outcome “is a reduction and impoverishment of white Australian land culture which parallels the extinction and impoverishment of its biodiversity”. This work also reveals that“…[white]…Australians have a long way to go in achieving ownership and belonging…[whilst]…Aboriginal narrative patterns of naming can help to show us possibilities for a richer dialogical relationship.”

What was a banksia before it was a banksia? emerges from Gourley’s current higher degree research in visual arts. It builds upon her ongoing interest in exploring environmental issues and concerns arising from the current ecological crisis, referred to as the Anthropocene. Using this narrative, Gourley investigates Eurocentric and anthropocentric ideologies toward nature tracing back to British invasion and colonisation, revealing their impact. This is done by adopting a self-reflexive and interpretative response of belonging to a colonising culture, and informed by ecofeminist and ecological discourse. As a white Australian woman, her innovative approach to using salvaged material invites new ways of thinking about the connection to land and self, initiated by cross-cultural narratives missing from dominant forms of discourse. This is achieved by utilising the handcrafted and mimetic qualities of trompe l'oeil with the junk aesthetic of the unmonumental to question colonial history, and challenge dominant ideologies underpinning white Australian attitudes and practices toward nature.The result is an exhibition which calls for dialogue and collaboration to examine and address some of the most significant ecological and environmental questions of our time.

(Val Plumwood, Decolonising Relationships withNature, PAN, no. 2, 2002, p: 23-28).

What was a banksia before it was a banksia? challenges colonial naming practices which deliberately refuses to acknowledge prior names, therefore denying Aboriginal peoples’ occupation on their own lands. The outcome “is a reduction and impoverishment of white Australian land culture which parallels the extinction and impoverishment of its biodiversity”. This work also reveals that“…[white]…Australians have a long way to go in achieving ownership and belonging…[whilst]…Aboriginal narrative patterns of naming can help to show us possibilities for a richer dialogical relationship.”

What was a banksia before it was a banksia? emerges from Gourley’s current higher degree research in visual arts. It builds upon her ongoing interest in exploring environmental issues and concerns arising from the current ecological crisis, referred to as the Anthropocene. Using this narrative, Gourley investigates Eurocentric and anthropocentric ideologies toward nature tracing back to British invasion and colonisation, revealing their impact. This is done by adopting a self-reflexive and interpretative response of belonging to a colonising culture, and informed by ecofeminist and ecological discourse. As a white Australian woman, her innovative approach to using salvaged material invites new ways of thinking about the connection to land and self, initiated by cross-cultural narratives missing from dominant forms of discourse. This is achieved by utilising the handcrafted and mimetic qualities of trompe l'oeil with the junk aesthetic of the unmonumental to question colonial history, and challenge dominant ideologies underpinning white Australian attitudes and practices toward nature.The result is an exhibition which calls for dialogue and collaboration to examine and address some of the most significant ecological and environmental questions of our time.

(Val Plumwood, Decolonising Relationships withNature, PAN, no. 2, 2002, p: 23-28).

FEATURED  WORKS

Susan Gourley, What was a banksia before it was a banksia?, 2018, salvaged material including wire, cardboard, paper, a discarded block of hardened concrete, plus natural twine and adhesive, 50 x 35 x 40 cm

OTHER  EXHIBITIONS