Following from the powerful 2019 exhibition River on the Brink: inside the Murray-Darling Basin, highlighting the on-going devastation of the Murray-Darling Basin, curator Gavin Wilson brings another thought provoking exhibition to the S.H. Ervin Gallery, TREE of LIFE: a testament to endurance.
As we cautiously emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, humanity is faced with a stark reckoning. The concept for TREE of LIFE is the central motif that signifies the challenges we face. What remains of the natural world is the one beacon in a perilous age of drought, fire, floods and plague, exacerbated by the constant reality of climate change. The recent horrific fire season experienced across the country will go down as the greatest extinction event for Australian wildlife and habitats since Colonisation.
To temper an already dangerous over reaction to the vexed issues of hazard reduction, tree thinning and further rampant land clearing, this major exhibition led by First Nations artists will generate a fresh, positive energy towards the reclamation of diminishing natural resources. Threads woven through TREE of LIFE will recognise the deep spiritual and physical associations that connect all forms of life: Life that must be nurtured as we chart a course of action through this perilous age of climate change, pandemics and wildfires.
Assembled by independent curator Gavin Wilson, TREE of LIFE: a testament to endurance, is a powerful selection of past and recent works by 27 leading contemporary Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists, committed to the environment. Exhibiting artists include from the APY Lands, Adelaide Studio Women’s Collective – Josephine Mick, Rhoda Tjitayi, Katie Curley, Barbara Baker, Margot Brown, Inawintji Williamson and Margaret Richards – together with Allana Beltran, GW Bot, Nicholas Blowers, Nici Cumpston, Tamara Dean, Rachel Ellis, Louise Fowler-Smith, Richard Goodwin, Nicholas Harding, Janet Laurence, Idris Murphy, Andrew Merry, Euan Macleod, Peggy Patrick. William Robinson, Shane Smithers, Mary Tonkin, Emma Walker, John R. Walker and Joshua Yeldham.
Image: JOHN R WALKER Hollow tree 2001 archival oil on polyester Orange Regional Gallery, Chroma Collection. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by Jim Cobb 2013.