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Margaret Whitlam Galleries

Mapping Country


Fiona Foley
Gouache, Coloured Crayon, reproduced images & found Natural Object and objects on paper
112cm x 75.5cm


John Puhiatau Pule
Lithograph on paper, JPP/RTP
76cm X 56cm

Towards Penrith

Herman Pekal
Oil on panel

Landscape Painting

Bridget Maltese
Oil on board
Donation from artist

Female Orphan School, Parramatta Campus (View Map)
21 Jul - 29 Sep 2006
Monday - Friday, 9.00am - 5.00pm

Mapping Country

This exhibtion is a juxtaposition of European and Inidgenous sensibilities towards the Australian landscape. The need to conquer the land and to inscribe one's own singular story upon has been fundamental to the European settler psyche within Australia. Europeans were impelled to modify, import, conquer and destroy. Changing ecological relationship was an implicit part of colonisation, as evident in the pastoral landscape by Pekel. Maltese and Baker, however depict an ancient landscape exposed ready to be mapped and conquered, reminisicent of the first European's glimpse of a raw, unformed and supposedly unclaimed land full of promise.

The landscapes produced by indigenous artists, depict their complex social relationships with their land, which is so central to indigenous community life. In Hargrave's " Women ceremony", tells a sacred story of women's ceremonial activities within her dreamtime landscape. For example, the curvy shapes depict both young and old and the circles represent campsites, whilst the straight lines are travelling lines.

Nangala and Timms also map their respective countries, within the Great Sandy Desert and Turkey Creek, their traditional iconography, can be read as a deed of title of that land. Foley's, Melancholy" focuses upon one of Indigenous Australians most famous sacred and contested sites, Uluru which is currently jointly managed, by Indigenous and European custodians. This symbolizes the ever present reminder of European settlers asserting custodianship over indigenous sites and artifacts and therefore Australia.

"One stance seeks to dominant and view it from above, the other is embedded and enfolded: one is assertive and conquering, the other is respectful and humbling: one is linear and progressive, the other is encircling and holistic: one looks beyond to the horizon, wishing to see over it, the other absorbs the place itself and seeks the secrets within"

(Tom Griffith, 1997)